All fireplace types (wood, gas, electric, etc.) should undergo annual maintenance by a professional. For a gas fireplace, maintenance tasks include checking fan, pilots, and burners. Wood fireplaces require an inspection and chimney cleaning to remove creosote, which can build up and cause chimney fires. Contact Tintean to schedule an appointment.
Homeowners should also take a few proactive steps on their own to ensure greater heating efficiency and safety, and to prolong the life of the unit. Here are some tips:
• Check the chimney or vent before the season’s first fire to see if birds or animals have built nests in it, or if leaves or other debris have accumulated.
• Clean out the firebox at least every week when using the fireplace regularly, but leave an inch of ash in the bottom to act as insulation.
NOTE: Never use a vacuum to clean out the firebox as coals can stay hot for several days after extinguishing a fire.
• Before removing ash, open the damper so loose ash is drawn up the chimney rather than out into the room.
• Remove all ash during the months the fireplace is not in use.
• Burn only seasoned or hard wood in the fireplace. This will help minimize creosote buildup in the chimney. Burning small, controlled, hot fires rather than smoldering fires will also help keep creosote under control.
• Install a carbon-monoxide alarm in the same room as the fireplace and another one near bedrooms.