You probably haven't used your fireplace since last winter. For us, we haven't used it yet in our new (but 35 year old) house. I was interested in learning what cleaning and and preparation needed to be done before lighting our first fire this season. Brian got me started last month when he wrote about the fireplace check-up
. I found some more information to add to his findings. Here I'll cover instructions for a thorough clean and a season ready check list.
If you did a thorough clean after your last fire then you can skip way down to the seasonal check. If you didn't, you'll want to start with a good clean. If it's a particularly big job, follow these instructions:
- Remove as much of the deposit as you can with a vacuum or scrub brush and water
- Heat 4 oz of nappa soap in 1 quart of water until the soap dissolves. Let it cool
- Add in 1/2 pound of powdered pumice and 1/2 cup of household ammonia
- Mix well
- Apply a coating of this soap solution with a paintbrush
- Let it stand for 30-60 min.
- Scrub it off with a brush and warm water
- Rinse well, and sponge it off
Once you've made your way through the layers of smoky deposit, give your hearth and screen a good cleaning
. You fireplace is starting to look ready, but there are still some important seasonal checks that need to be done before lighting your first fire. Follow me through the break and I'll outline your final steps to a healthy fireplace.
Before the cold weather sets in, go through this seasonal checklist:
- Check the flu for leaves or bird nests
- Check the chimney - Try using a mirror and a flashlight to look up through the open damper
- If you find blockages, call a chimney sweeper
- If a year has passed since your last cleaning, call a chimney sweeper to clean the flu and look for cracks
- Have all soot cleaned out. This will avoid a chimney fire
- Have any cracks in the chimney repaired. This will prevent flames from coming through cracks
- Vacuum the ducts if you have warm air circulates
- Repair any cracks in the firebox or hearth
[via: Fireplace cleaning and maintenance