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Tips for Cleaning Your Fireplace | Highlands Realty Inc

As the temperatures drop, many people will be firing up their fireplaces. Whether you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace, it’s important to regularly clean fireplaces to ensure it functions safely and efficiently.

Home with a Fireplace

How to Clean a Wood-Burning Fireplace

The importance of cleaning

Regardless of how dry the firewood is you burn, creosote and soot build up on the chimney’s lining and flue walls over time. These byproducts are dangerous and flammable, so they require being removed from time to time. 

Remove Ashes

When wood ashes begin interfering with building a fire or start to smell, it is time to remove them. If your fireplace has an ash dump, you’ll want to wait until the coals are cold to push the ashes through the metal plate on the firebox’s floor. If your fireplace is not equipped with an ash dump, simply shovel the ashes once they have completely cooled and put them in a bag for disposal. You can use a vacuum to remove any remaining ashes in the firebox or on the hearth. 

Clean smoke and soot build up on the surround

A clogged flue, forgetting to open the flue damper, or other causes of poor drafting may cause smoke and soot to build up around the fireplace opening. To clean this build up, grab a masonry cleaner and some gloves and use a stiff brush to clean the surround. If your fireplace has glass doors, clean the inside and outside with standard glass cleaner. 

How to Clean a Gas Fireplace

While gas fireplaces require less maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces should still be cleaned periodically. The below steps cover how to clean a gas fireplace to keep it operating efficiently and safely. 

  1.  Safety first! Turn off the gas before starting the cleaning process. 
  2. If possible, remove the glass doors for cleaning with a non-ammonia-based glass cleaner. 
  3. Vacuum any debris inside or, if it exists, around the vents of the heat exchanger. 
  4. Reposition the gas logs properly and turn the gas back on. 

When to Call a Professional for Fireplace Cleanings

While the need for a professional fireplace cleaning can vary by how often you use your fireplace, it’s a good rule of thumb to have an annual chimney inspection. A licensed chimney sweep will check that your chimney is safe to use before starting a fire in your fireplace for the first time each year. Routine professional fireplace cleanings will ensure creosote doesn’t build up in your chimney and help reduce the risk of a chimney fire. 

If you have a fireplace in your home, follow these cleaning tips to keep it well-maintained. If you are searching for a home with a fireplace, call one of our real estate professionals to help you find that “just-right” home with the features you desire. 

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