Tips For Closing Your Fireplace This Spring and Summer
Keeping a fireplace open all summer can be detrimental to your home’s energy efficiency. That’s why it’s essential to close it down for the season. According to chimney masonry repair pros, there are several ways you can do this safely and effectively. Keep reading to learn how!
Clean The Firebox
Before closing your fireplace, it’s important to make sure you do it safely and properly. You’ll want to clean the firebox, close the damper, inspect the chimney, and clear any ash from the flue. To clean the firebox, use a mixture of grease-cutting dishwashing liquid and salt to loosen soot and ashes. Then spray the area with a solution of water and vinegar. You can also mix a solution of two tablespoons of grease-cutting dishwashing liquid with one cup of household ammonia in a bucket of warm water. This cleaner is also more effective than the soap-salt combo. Now that you’ve cleaned the firebox, you can check the seals to make sure they’re in good condition and clean the glass door to remove soot stains. There are paste glass cleaners that work well for removing tough soot stains, but if you don’t have a paste, a little elbow grease can get the job done.
Close The Damper
The damper is one of the most important parts of your chimney system. It helps keep air from flowing up and out of your chimney during normal use of your fireplace and also regulates the flow of wood smoke when you’re burning wood. Dampers come in many different styles and can be controlled by a variety of mechanisms. Some are worm gears that open and close, while others pivot on a rod or slide. To check if your damper is open, stick your hand inside the fireplace near the top. If you feel a draft, it’s probably open. Make sure to always close your damper when you aren’t using the fireplace. This will prevent heated air from escaping up the chimney and out of your home, which can cost you more in heating costs!
Inspect The Chimney
A chimney plays an important role in the safety of your home by ensuring that all toxic air pollutants and combustion byproducts are properly carried out to the outdoors. Your chimney needs to be inspected at least once a year, preferably in the spring or summer. The inspection should include an examination of all accessible parts of your chimney to ensure that there are no problems. Your chimney should be checked for a buildup of creosote, a highly flammable residue that can form in the walls of your chimney when hot combustion byproducts mingle with cool air and produce condensation. A CSIA pro can identify whether excessive creosote is present and remove it if necessary to prevent fires in your home. Alternatively, they can repair or replace components that promote increased creosote buildup, such as a warped damper (a metal plate in the chimney that regulates the draft). This can prevent backed-up smoke and vapors from entering your home.
Clean The Flue
When you’re closing your fireplace this spring and summer, it’s a good idea to do a quick cleaning of the flue. This will help cut utility costs, prevent unpleasant odors, and ensure that your fireplace is ready for use when the cold weather comes around. The flue is the chimney’s path from the fireplace to the outside world, and it should be free of soot and creosote buildup that can cause chimney fires. A good chimney sweep can clean your chimney and inspect it for damage, such as cracks in the masonry or mortar, or missing bricks or deteriorated flue liners. They’ll also check for signs of a leak, and make sure your damper is working properly.
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