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Have A Wood Burning Fireplace? Then Here Are Some Cleaning Tips To Keep In Mind

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A wood-burning fireplace is by far the dirtiest fireplace there is. With the comfort and coziness of real wood burning comes soot, smoke, dirt, dust, debris -- even critters! Plus, it also requires constant maintenance throughout the winter -- removing ashes and adding new wood. However, when it is clean the rewards for having a wood stove far out weigh the maintenance factors.  So to help out our fellow wood fireplace lovers we will share with you all on how to prepare and clean your wood-burning fireplace.

  •  Give the exterior and interior a good once-over. Take note of any damage and missing or broken parts. Look outside at the exterior of your chimney. Any cracks will need to be repaired.
  • Check the flu for leaves, birds nests and other critters.
  •  Assess how much cleaning is needed. If you have layers of ash that are one or more inches thick, you're in for a dirty job. Cleaning a wood-burning fireplace is a messy task, so old clothing and rubber gloves are necessary. Place a protective drop cloth in front of the fireplace to protect your floors and carpeting from soot. Also, make sure to grab a shovel if your ash bed is high.
  • Remove the layers of ash and debris using a vacuum cleaner. Put it all into a trash bag and place aside.
  •  Scrub the fireplace. Using a scrub brush and a bucket full of soapy water, scrub the inside walls and floor of the fireplace.
  •  Don't scrub too hard on older brick. Doing this might cause it to crumble.
  •  Clean fireplace accessories. Screens, fireplace tools and log beds also get dirty and need to be cleaned. You can clean glass screens with a household glass cleaner. Mesh screens can be vacuumed. Tools can be cleaned inside or outdoors; give them a once-over with the scrub brush and soapy water, then spray them off with a hose. If you clean the tools inside, rinse each tool with water in your utility sink or using the spray nozzle in your kitchen sink.
Following these simple steps will ensure a nice and clean wood stove that everyone in the family can enjoy. Now, all you have to do is wait for the cold weather so you can curl up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate! Also feel free to contact us if you have any questions about fireplace accessories or fireplace maintenance.

Utilizing An Ash Bucket At Your Fireplace Can Help Prevent Fires

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Whenever you burn a solid fuel, such as wood, coal, or pellets, in your stove, fireplace, or insert, you will be left with ashes to remove. These ashes must be removed periodically as they can affect both performance and durability of the product. The frequency of this ash removal will depend on the product itself, the type of fuel being burned, and the species of the fuel. Small bits of hot coals removed, mixed and buried within the ashes, represent a hidden danger. What many consumers are unaware of is that these hot coals can stay dormant for weeks when buried in ashes. The ash acts as an insulator keeping coals from burning out. All these coals need to flare up once more is oxygen. It’s for this reason fire departments often return to a scene to place more water on smoldering timbers and newly flared coals.

The key is a safe removal of ashes and coals from the product, and from the living quarters. The proper type of ash “holder” or pail, for ash removal and storage should also be sheet metal. The bottom should be slightly offset from the bottom so that the actual bottom does not make contact with flooring. The edge will and should make contact, but the majority of the bottom is elevated. The pail should have a large wire handle for easy carrying. And, most importantly, the pail should have a lid that closes tightly. This is the key for safety. Spend the few extra dollars to purchase an ash bucket that has the features just mentioned. There are many ash buckets in our industry that are quite decorative as well so aesthetics need not be too ignored. And, do not place the bucket directly on a wood porch or breezeway floor, but instead, on a non-combustible surface such as stone, concrete, brick, or slate. Contact us today if you need any fireplace accessories or even questions about fireplace inserts and stoves.

Fireplace Maintenance Tips To Remember

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Regular cleaning of your fireplace is essential if it is to effective and safe. It doesn’t matter whether you have a wood-burning or gas-burning unit. Here at Fireplace Showcase we recommend getting your fireplace cleaned once a year. Our professional chimney sweepers will check all parts, including the chimney draw, fans, pilots, burners, ignition, combustion and vents. Actually, the chimney is one of the most important parts that need to be inspected because it can often become obstructed by nest-building animals such as birds and raccoons. A chimney cap can help prevent animals from nesting. A fireplace that is not properly maintained and cleaned can result in carbon monoxide buildup in your home, a dangerous and potentially deadly occurrence.

Keeping your fireplace up to date in its cleaning also keeps ashes from building up in a fireplace. However, ashes and small embers from a fire can remain hot for several days and should be removed very cautiously. Remember; never use a vacuum to remove ashes from a recently used fireplace because it could easily start a fire. It's also important to open the damper before removing ashes; with no air going up the chimney, any blown-back ash and dust will spill out onto the floor. If you have a gas fireplace, we recommend cleaning it about once a month with a bristle brush. Be sure to wait until the log has cooled completely before cleaning it.

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