We’re nearing the first day of spring, which means longer days, warmer weather, and lots more time outdoors. It also means less of a need for evening fires since temperatures on are the rise!
So, what does mean for your fireplace? Can you just call it quits and leave your system alone until next fall? Well, we wouldn’t suggest it… Your chimney and fireplace experience quite a bit of wear and tear over the fall and winter months, which means some end-of-season TLC should be in order.
We’ve got some tips to help you get started. Just remember that any DIY maintenance will not replace services from a certified sweep, so get that annual inspection on the books ASAP!
How To Safely Remove Fireplace Ash
Has ash piled up inside of your firebox? If it stays in your firebox all spring and summer (while your fireplace doesn’t see much use), it will wind up causing a lot of damage. Ash is acidic in nature, so it can cause your grate to corrode and break down, and it’s also known to draw in moisture, which can trigger rusting, clogs, deterioration, and a whole mess of other problems.
We’ve got some dos and don’ts to help you remove all of your fireplace ash safely…
- DON’T vacuum the ashes. This may seem like an easy way to get the job done quickly, but it can create a huge fire hazard should any embers end up in the vacuum bag.
- DO wait at least 24 hours after your last fire before scooping the ash out. It can take some time for things to fully cool down, and you can never be too careful!
- DO wear a mask and protective eyewear. Ash dust is a lot finer than basic household dust, so you’ll want to do everything possible to keep it out of your eyes and nostrils.
- DO use a metal scoop and non-combustible container (with a lid) to store the ash. Even after waiting a full day, live embers can still be hidden in your ash pile. Using this equipment will minimize the risk of burns and injuries.
- DON’T store the closed ash bucket in your garage, shed, or home. (Keep it off the porch, too.) Should those stray, live embers ignite, you could be at risk.
- DO store the ash bucket on a non-flammable surface, well away from your household.
- DON’T open the ash bucket for a few days. Give it amble time to cool down to ensure any potentially live embers have died out.
- DO find creative uses for your fireplace ash. It can keep away garden pests, neutralize the acidity in your garden’s soil, aid in removing oil stains, and more!
Not quite finished with your burning season? Then, don’t clear all that ash out just yet! The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends leaving behind an inch or two of ash throughout your burning season. This serves as a nest for future fires, helping them start up and spread easier.
Make Your Glass Doors Shine
Now, if ash has piled up in your firebox, we’re guessing your glass doors aren’t looking the best either. When these are clean and clear, they aid in making your fireplace a beautiful focal point in your living space, but when they’re dirty and smudged, they can be a huge eyesore.
So, what can be done to shine them up?
Easy – just use your fireplace ash! Yep, that’s not a typo… the (cooled) ash from your fireplace can work to clean a number of things, which is why some use it to polish silver, wash their pets, and even make homemade soap!
But how can it be used for your fireplace glass? Snag some old newspapers from the recycling bin, get them damp, dip them in your ash pile (again, make sure it’s cooled down first), then get to scrubbing. Before you know it, the buildup will be gone.
Finally, we suggest mixing equal parts vinegar and water together in a spray bottle, then using it to give your glass a final once-over. That finishing touch will really make it sparkle!
Book Your Yearly Maintenance
Annual inspections are imperative for keeping your system in tip-top shape for the long haul. While there’s a lot you can do as a homeowner to keep things running smoothly, there’s nothing that will match professional insight from a qualified technician. They’ll be able to note whether any clogs or creosote buildup is present, and they’ll also keep a wary eye for any signs of damage, too.
Note on Chimney Sweeping Logs: Have you invested in a chimney sweeping log in hopes of foregoing your annual maintenance? Unfortunately, despite their name, these don’t actually sweep your system. All they do is change the texture of your creosote, so it may be a bit easier for the sweep to remove. Essentially, you’ll be left with the same amount of buildup, just in a different form. Use one if you’d like… just don’t neglect your annual inspection because of it!
Give Our Techs a Call Today
The sooner you get in touch with our experts, the better! Scheduling yearly maintenance of the earlier side of the things ensures you aren’t left putting off your burning season come fall, and it gives us ample time to address any potential damages, too
Our certified, experienced, and dedicated crew is ready for your call. Reach out now!