I’ve got a burning question for you: We here at Movoto have covered lawn care before, but what’s one aspect of the home we haven’t written about?
The answer would be a wood-burning fireplace.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace, you’re sure to know about its upsides — its light, its warmth, its ambiance. But with its perks comes a downside, namely maintenance. You may or may not know about proper fireplace maintenance, or maybe you just want a refresher course. If any of these scenarios apply, then this article is for you.
The following are some real estate tips for how to best care for your wood-burning fireplace.
Learn About Creosote.
Merriam Webster defines creosote as “a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from especially wood smoke on the walls of a chimney,” the operative word here being “flammable”. If enough creosote builds up in your chimney, it’s possible that it could catch fire. The likelihood of this is statistically small — annually, only around 27,000 chimney fires occur, causing anywhere between 10 and 20 deaths each year — but it’s why the next tip is so important.
Inspect and Clean Before First Use.
Whether you opt to do this yourself or prefer to have a professional chimney sweep do it for you (which isn’t a bad option, since a professional may be able to spot potential problems before you do), just be sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned before you use it for the first time each season. Please keep in mind, though, that a fireplace that sees a lot of use throughout the season will need to be cleaned and inspected more than once a year. Every now and then, we’d recommend you grab a flashlight and check the chimney’s walls yourself by either looking down from the top or up from the bottom. Be sure to take action if you spot any soot hanging loose there.
Prevent Creosote Build-Up.
The best offense is a good defense, which in this case means preventing as much creosote build-up as you can. You can do this in five ways: 1) Burn hedge and other seasoned hot-burning woods and avoid burning ash and other low-burning woods that will leave more build-up; 2) As the article puts it, “[Leave] the damper open for around 15 minutes each morning, or whenever you use fresh wood”; 3) Avoid setting large fires and opt instead for smaller ones; 4) Empty your fireplace of (completely extinguished!) ash every time it’s full; and 5) Use razor blades to remove build-up from doors and then clean with a soft, damp rag (for glass doors) or a strong chemical cleaner (for non-glass doors).
Put a Cap on the Chimney.
Installing a chimney cap is beneficial because it can solve draft issues, as well as prevent rain, leaves, birds, bats, and other unsavory things from getting inside.
Stephanie Huskey is the resident real estate blogger for Movoto and is a huge fan of wood-burning fireplaces and wishes to have one in her home one day. Interested in getting her advice on your blog? She’s currently seeking guest blogging opportunities so she can share her knowledge with new communities! You can find her over here at Elance.com.