The fireplace is the heart of the home, and it needs to be treated with care if it’s going to keep you warm and cozy during the colder months. It’s important to understand the needs of your fireplace so it will last for years to come while keeping your family warm and worry-free.
Don’t treat your fireplace as an afterthought. Give it the care it deserves, and it will extend the favor to you. Read this guide to learn what regular and annual tasks you should be doing and when you should call a professional.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF FIREPLACES
Your fireplace maintenance needs will mostly depend on the type of fireplace you have. For the sake of this guide, we’ll focus on the two most common types of fireplaces: wood-burning and gas. A wood fireplace will generally take more day-to-day upkeep compared to gas.
Wood-burning fireplaces give you an unmatched authentic experience. The unbeatable moments of fire crackling, sweet smoke of embers burning, and cozy warmth radiating over you as you read your favorite book, slowly sipping the hot beverage at your side. Once the fire dies down, you’ll be left with ash to dispose of and a chimney to clean. With a gas fireplace, you can get all warmth and comfort that you would with a wood-burning fireplace but without the cleanup – and at the push of a button!
Give me a good book, or a good newspaper, and sit me down afore a good fire and I ask no better.
WOOD-BURNING FIREPLACE MAINTENANCE
The main thing you’re going to need to do with a wood fireplace is to keep the firebox area clean (the area of your fireplace where you build the fire.) Be sure to clean out the ash after each time you burn, and don’t forget to keep the area in front of your fireplace swept and clean as well. If soot starts to accumulate on the outside of your fireplace, this could indicate that it’s time to get your chimney cleaned and inspected.
CLEAN YOUR FIREPLACE DOORS
If you have glass doors on your wood-burning fireplace, they may get dirty after a few burns. To clean them, you can purchase a specialty fireplace door cleaner that will make your job easy. You could also try the old-fashioned ash and newspaper method. To do this, get a damp newspaper or paper towel and dip it in the ash in your fireplace. Use this to wipe off any soot that has collected on your fireplace doors.
Pro-tip: keep your glass doors open when burning a fire. Most glass doors on wood-burning fireplaces are made with tempered glass which is more likely to crack when directly exposed to high temperatures.
CLEAN YOUR CHIMNEY
GAS FIREPLACE MAINTENANCE
For starters, we don’t recommend performing gas fireplace maintenance yourself. Call a licensed and certified professional who will be able to clean your gas fireplace, inspect it for any mechanical and electrical issues, and who will follow all safety precautions.
You may be able to do some basic cleaning on your gas fireplace, but you can always call a professional if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself. Before you do anything, make sure your fireplace has cooled down and review the manual.
CLEAN THE GLASS
You may have noticed condensation collect on the inside of your gas fireplace right after you turn it on. This is completely normal and it’s due to moisture in the air. This can leave residue on the glass once the condensation has evaporated from the heat of the fire.
Glass on a gas fireplace cannot be cleaned with regular glass cleaner as most glass cleaners contain chemicals that can scratch the special, heat-resistant glass and can be highly flammable. The glass needs to be cleaned with a special gas fireplace glass cleaner.
Refer to your manual on how to remove the glass in front of your gas fireplace. Place it on a clean drop cloth, follow the directions on the bottle, and wipe it off as directed.
CLEAN THE LOGS AND PILOT
Some people choose to turn off the pilot light on their gas fireplaces during the warmer months to save on gas. While this sounds like a good idea, it can have some unintended consequences. Spiders are attracted to the smell of the gas coming from the pilot area and will often build their nests there. This can restrict the flow of gas enough to prevent your fireplace from turning on.
We do not recommend cleaning your pilot light yourself. Call a certified professional to perform gas fireplace maintenance.
DO SOME SPRING CLEANING
If you live in Pennsylvania like us, then you know how temperamental the weather can be. One day it could be 35˚ with flurries and the next day 65˚ and sunny. We recommend getting your fireplace serviced and cleaned in the spring or early summer.
If you wait until the first cold night of the fall to use your fireplace and realize that it won’t turn on, chances are a professional won’t be able to come out the next day to address the issue. It may be a couple of weeks before they can come out depending on the volume of service requests and their staff. Don’t procrastinate – schedule a service call in the spring or summer so you can be sure your fireplace will work when you need it most.
Most fireplace service companies offer discounted service rates during the spring and summer. Take advantage of the savings and enjoy the peace of mind that you got your fireplace taken care of ahead of time.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
Even if everything appears to be working properly with your fireplace, it’s still a good idea to have it inspected and cleaned every year. Doing so will usually allow you to address issues before they arise. Additionally, most gas fireplace warranties are void if you don’t get it inspected yearly by a licensed professional.
If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area and need fireplace maintenance, schedule your next service call with us! We service Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Berks, Delaware, Lehigh, and Philadelphia counties. If you don’t live in our area – don’t sweat it! Just make sure that whoever you call to service your fireplace is qualified.