In the summer months, many people enjoy the extra daylight by turning to outdoor endeavors. As a result, indoor fireplaces tend to lie dormant for a season. This makes spring the perfect time to give your fireplace or wood stove a little TLC so it rests clean, maintained, and at the ready for you when burning season begins again. Getting key system maintenance squared away at the end of this burning season means a worry-free summer and a fireplace ready to crackle and glow when autumn sets in and next burning season begins.
How should you get your fireplace or wood stove ready for summer? It’s fairly simple. Ending the burning season typically involves just a few steps. Plan on clearing out your firebox, scheduling a visit from your chimney sweep technician, and ensuring that your damper is set for summer. Then, step away and enjoy your summer!
✓ Clean Out Your Firebox
Maintaining a layer of ash throughout the burning season can insulate your fireplace and make starting fires easier. But now that you won’t be burning for a while? Clear it out! Left sitting over time, wood ash is corrosive to your firebox. To avoid damage, get rid of that now unnecessary wood ash.
- Make sure it’s entirely cool, then remove as much as you can with a fireplace shove into a metal container with a tightly sealed lid.
- Work carefully to avoid stirring up ash, which can create a mess.
- The wood ash can be discarded – or resourceful homeowners may find ways to put it to work around the home and garden.
- Use a garage vacuum to clear remaining ash from hard-to-reach crevices of the firebox.
This is also a good time to take any firewood you’ve been storing indoors to your outdoor wood storage area. Since you won’t be using it for a while, it may attract unwanted pests. Check that all remaining firewood is stored well, so it’ll be ready to use for summer bonfires or winter fires later on. You certainly don’t want to burn green or damp wood, but be sure to use it before it becomes excessively dry, too. A moisture meter can help you gauge your firewood’s moisture level.
✓ Have Your Chimney Swept & Inspected
Now your chimney is clean, right? Well, the places you can see and reach may be. But it’s important to enlist a pro at least once a year to be sure that even the places that are out of sight are clear. A certified chimney sweep technician will have the tools and training to access your roof and tough-to-reach chimney areas so they can remove blockages that could obstruct the exhaust out of the home. They’ll also clear away soot and creosote, which left unchecked becomes a serious fire hazard.
Your chimney sweep technician should also carefully inspect your chimney. They will examine the chimney system components for signs of deterioration, cracking, or leaks. An annual inspection is an invaluable investment in system maintenance, since chimney troubles left unaddressed can escalate into serious – and costly – headaches.
✓ Book Any Necessary Repairs
If your chimney inspection has turned up any repair needs, spring is a prime time to get them on the calendar. Waiting until later makes it more likely that your chimney sweep’s schedule will be booked into burning season. You may not be thinking of cozy, crackling fires right now – but you’ll want your system to be ready to function at its best when autumn arrives and the urge to use it comes!
✓ Make Sure Your Damper Is Closed
Closing your damper in your fireplace will help prevent animals and debris from creating blockages in your chimney and possibly gaining entry into your living space. This is also an important move for efficiency, since a well-functioning, closed damper stops air from escaping through the chimney.
The exception? If you have a gas fireplace or insert with a standing pilot, you should leave your damper open year-round. This is a precaution – if you happen to have a gas leak, leaving the damper open keeps gas from building up in your home. However, if you’re looking for ways to reduce energy use in the summer, you can consider having your pilot light extinguished until you want to use your fireplace regularly again.
Give Us a Call
If you’re considering a system upgrade for aesthetics or efficiency, or if you need to schedule a chimney sweeping or inspection, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly, qualified staff. We’re a family-owned company that’s been providing reliable, clean, customer-oriented chimney and fireplace services to clients in Montague, Yreka, Mount Shasta, McCloud, Siskiyou and Shasta counties for over forty years.
We’re proud to partner with you in making your home safe and comfortable – and our certifications and customer satisfaction speak volumes! Call us 530-285-3841 or reach out online now.