Keep Your Fireplace Running Great for Years To Come
While we all know the fireplaces we buy and use on a daily basis need some TLC once in a while, it’s easy to forget the routine things we should be doing because it’s not directly staring us in the face. We know when the microwave or oven needs to be cleaned, because of the recent soup explosion or the blaring smoke detector. We know when the car needs some love when the light goes on or heaven forbid it breaks down on us. But the fireplace can be a more subtle sort of thing, that with a little effort can prove to be no big deal. Here are a few ways you can take care of your fireplace and keep it running great for years.
1. Keep things dusted
This may sound silly, but keeping the fireplace dusted periodically can prevent thick dust bunnies or years of cached on dust to clog blower motors or wear on components. Sensors that monitor temperature may not work as they used to, and identifiable model numbers or info can get lost to time. Spend a few minutes during your circuit around the house to open and close any doors, grills, or louvers you may see, and dust things off.
2. Clean the glass
Whether you have a wood or gas-burning fireplace, keeping the glass clean is an important step to maintaining the look long-term. Leaving glass dirty can penetrate and create a long-lasting ‘burn’ effect which will never go away. Buying fireplace-specific glass cleaner and using it when you see your glass getting foggy or black is the best practice that we use here at our fireplace store. The worst thing you can do is leave the glass dirty and continue using it – so plan on cleaning your wood-burning fireplace glass every other fire or so, and gas fireplaces typically a few times per year.
3. Keep your pilot light on during the cold months, and clean it during the warm months
If you have a gas fireplace, you’ve probably seen the little flame always burning inside the fireplace. You might think that it wastes gas and costs you a fortune. While not free, the cost of running your pilot is miniscule and should be kept on during the cold months to keep the components warm. That way, when the fireplace turns on and off, you avoid the stark cold-to-hot contrast and the condensation that comes with it. Condensation allows things to stick to it (like carbon and other bi-products of combustion) which means you’ll have to clean your fireplace more often. So instead, leave it on from about September until April and during those summer months – spend the time to wipe the pilot assembly off. Using a scouring pad or something as coarse as a dollar bill – carefully clean the sensors of any white carbon build-up so they can do their job effectively during the next season.
4. Give your fireplace the full cleaning it deserves annually
If you’re not a DIY superstar, you can hire someone (such as us!) to clean your fireplace for you. Gas fireplace cleanings include all of the above and more, including inspecting things to make sure no problems have reared their ugly head. These cleanings normally only take about an hour and give you the perfect peace-of-mind that your investment will keep working as promised for a long time. These cleanings can also be done by you of course, and is a worth your time about once per year (depending on how often you use it). For wood-burning, sweeping the flue can be a messier ordeal, but most fireplaces now can contain the mess without too much trouble. Chimney fires are the fireplace owner’s worst nightmare, but by sweeping out the flue and a little effort, will never be a problem. Once again, we sweep and clean out fireplaces, and some owners watch us do it once and purchase brushes so they can do it themselves the next year!