You probably know about the masonry and brick pointing work we do in and around Philadelphia; after all: We have a reputation for providing superior quality. But, did you know that we are also Philadelphia’s foremost chimney and fireplace repair and maintenance experts, too?
For this post, though, let’s just focus on fireplaces (we’ll talk about chimneys in the near future). Why? Because spring is the best time of year to get your fireplace inspected! Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “Why should I care about my fireplace when spring just started?”: You should keep reading so you can learn more about fireplaces!
All jokes aside, we here at Above All Chimney & Masonry thought it would be a good idea to offer a few tips about fireplaces — everything from safety to maintenance — now that the frequency of their use is tapering off as the average daily temperature increases.
Read on to learn more. When you finish, get in touch with us if you’re in Philadelphia and you need fireplace repairs or any other masonry work.
Safety first, people! Before we get into the fun stuff, let’s make sure we’re avoiding the dangerous stuff with a quick overview of proper fireplace management.
Open the Glass; Adjust the Flue
If you have glass doors, keep them open while the fire is burning. Doing so will allow cool air to flow up the chimney. It’s also important to ensure the flue is properly adjusted to allow smoke to escape. Among the many undesirable side effects of having too much smoke in one’s home is the threat of creosote buildup, which is the enemy of all fireplace owners.
Mind the Flammables
Keep the screen closed so sparks don’t jump out onto the rug; and don’t put anything flammable near the fire. Not adhering to those two rules will almost certainly lead to a costly accident sooner or later.
Never Leave a Fire Unattended
This is self-explanatory, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure someone’s eyes are on the fire burning in your home.
Fireplace How Tos
Now that we’ve addressed safety, it’s time to talk about the fun stuff: What you can burn, how to burn it, and what to do with the ashes.
DO NOT burn pine, cedar, spruce, or other softwoods because the fire they produce is especially smokey and leads to excessive creosote buildup. ONLY BURN HARDWOODS, such as maple, oak, birch, fruitwood, and almondwood.
Be sure to get the fires inside your home burning as hot as possible as quickly as you can. Slow-burning fires produce a tremendous amount of smoke over the course of their development, which can lead to — you guessed it — creosote buildup.
Don’t let the ashes in the fireplace get out of control. Needless to say, some ashes on the floor of the fireplace complement the aesthetics as much as they offer protection; however, there shouldn’t be any more than an inch of ash on the floor of your fireplace during fire season. More than an inch can cause premature wear and other damage.
We’re not going to sit here and tell you that maintaining a fireplace is easy; we will, however, stand up and shout about how simple it can be if you solicit the services of your local fireplace experts.
Call the Pros Once a Year
Have your fireplace inspected by a professional at least once every year, preferably during spring, as the months immediately following winter (which is when your fireplace is most often used) can give you a head start on making any necessary repairs in time for the following winter. If you have any other questions about fireplace inspections, check out this video we recently created.
Call us today at 215-664-8884 if you need your fireplace inspected. And, if you’re looking for fireplace repair, installation, or other masonry services in Philadelphia, reach out via the same phone number or fill out a contact form and get a free estimate.