A wood burning fireplace is a perfect addition to any home, adding warmth and style to any space. To save your money and time, it is imperative to keep your fireplace maintained and in tip top condition. Having a maintained fireplace will add tremendous value to your home and excite your guests. Today we bring you ten tips for maintaining a wood burning fireplace.
1. Clean the interior
Often we forget that burning wood can cause buildup of a variety of dirt, ash, dust and creosote inside of the fireplace. Make sure that you clean the interior regularly. Not only will it look more presentable, the fireplace will burn more efficiently when you keep it clean. Also worth noting is that the buildup of creosote and other materials can be considered a safety hazard. Many of the fine particles can be transmitted through the air and can cause health issues over a longer period of time. Cleaning will also help prevent any of the material from catching fire when you don’t want it to. We recommend using a dust mask when cleaning to prevent inhalation of any dust particles.
2. Install a stainless steel liner
Consider installing a liner for your fireplace to keep the embers and any other materials contained in a safe manner. We can help you find the correct liner for any size of fireplace, and even help with the install! A quality liner will be able to withstand the high temperatures of a wood burning fireplace with ease.
3. Install Heat Proof Glass and Blower or Fan
Heat Proof Glass will help with safety and the efficiency of your fireplace. Glass doors can help with containing any burning material such as embers or dust particles. Safety of your guests and family will also be strengthened by adding another layer of protection. A fan or blower can increase the efficiency of heating your home by distributing the heat over a larger area. The glass doors should be cleaned regularly to prevent buildup of material and to keep your fireplace looking presentable. For any buildup of material, you can use a light sandpaper to lightly sand off any tougher buildups.
4. Watch For Smoke
A properly vented and maintained wood burning fireplace should not send smoke into your room. If you notice any smoke entering your room from the fireplace, make sure you immediately take notice as this could be a warning sign that something needs to be cleaned or maintained. There are a number of causes such as a dirty chimney with too much soot or creosote buildup, debris in the chimney blocking the venting of smoke, a damper may not be open or is only partly open, or the wood itself could not be burning properly. It is always important to play it safe when you see smoke, always pay attention.
5. Burn the Right Wood
Wood burning is an art, and a science. You should always know what kind of wood you are burning in your fireplace. It also pays to know what kind of wood you are burning, different kinds of wood may be cheaper but burn lousy, causing you stress and increased cleaning duties. One type of wood is hardwood which includes maple, oak, ash and birch. A few advantages of hardwood are that they burn hotter and longer, they have less pitch and sap which makes them cleaner to handle, and they cause less creosote buildup. Softwoods on the other hand are a cheaper alternative, but have a trade off in being a bit more difficult to deal with in terms of mess and clean up. Fir is the best, and other softwoods include pine, balsam, spruce, tamarack, alder and poplar. Do not burn green wood, it will not produce enough heat and will produce a large amount of smoke and creosote.
6. Look for Soot
Soot is another byproduct of burning wood and can be an issue if not properly handled. Soot is generally softer than creosote and is able to be disturbed easily, causing a mess in a larger area which can be difficult to clean up. Soot can also catch fire if in a large enough volume. We recommend cleaning the soot deposits regularly and to watch out for when it gets larger than 1/8 inch deep.
7. Remove Creosote
Creosote is a flammable substance that is hard, dark, and crust-like. Creosote will appear after incomplete combustion of burning wood. Wood that is wet by improper storage will produce a larger amount of creosote than wood that has been dried and properly stored. A buildup of too much creosote can cause chimney fires as creosote is highly flammable. A hotter fire will produce less creosote, and a higher airflow will help with maintaining a proper burn. We recommend using a chimney brush to remove any building in the stove pipe. Make sure you inspect the stove pipe regularly with a flashlight to guarantee you have cleaned it thoroughly.
8. Check the Cap
Your chimney likely has a cap on the top or sides to keep unwanted materials and animals from entering. Cleaning the cap and removing debris regularly will enhance airflow and allow smoke to successfully escape. If there is a blockage, you run the risk of having creosote build up inside the chimney, adding a fire risk. We always recommend that you consult a professional chimney sweep if you are noticing any major issues with your chimney. Following these regular inspection tips will allow you to save money as keeping your chimney unobstructed will result in less calls to the chimney sweep professionals.
9. Inspect Your Chimney
Depending on whether you have a metal or masonry chimney, there are a few factors to watch out for. With a masonry chimney examine the outer mortar between bricks or stone to make sure it is intact. Any cracks could be a sign that there is a larger problem or could be the start of one. Any crumbling mortar should be replaced, and any cracked tile liners or missing bricks should be noted and immediately replaced. A metal chimney should be inspected for dust, dents, and rust. Look for any missing screws or dents and rust at the joints as these are the most common areas that show the first signs of weakness.
10. Annual Inspection and Maintenance
Many fireplaces need to be inspected once a year by a Certified specialist or installer in order for the warranty to be maintained. Getting your fireplace maintained is just one step in keeping your fireplace efficient for years to come. Keeping your fireplace safe for your family is easy if you follow the suggestions above, and will be cost effective as you will avoid any large repair bills with keeping maintenance and inspection regular. At Alsip’s we can help you with Annual Inspection and Maintenance, starting at $149.99 per fireplace. We can set you up with a home visit and our certified maintenance team will help you with any fireplace issues and maintenance requests. To start the process, give us a call at 204-667-3330 or email at email@example.com. We also have an online contact form to send a message directly to our maintenance team. Fill out the contact form below to start your fireplace maintenance!
Buying and installing a new fireplace can be costly. At Alsip’s we want you to enjoy the fireplace experience rather than dwell on the price tag. To help with the costs of a new fireplace install or upgrade, Manitoba Hydro has introduced the Energy Finance Plan. The Energy Finance plan is a convenient, on-bill financing for upgrades to gas and electrical systems and is available to Manitoba Hydro residential, commercial, farm, and seasonal customers.
Highlights of the plan include:
- Borrow up to $5,000.00 per residence.
- The minimum allowable loan amount is $500.
- The maximum financing term is 5 years.
- The minimum monthly payment is $15.
- Current interest rate is 6.75 per cent.
- No down payment required.
- All work must be performed by a qualified electrician or a licensed contractor who is a participant in the Energy Finance Plan. (Ask us to help you with finding the best in qualified electricians or licensed contractors!)
- Credit approval must be pre-arranged.
- Repayment of the loan is the responsibility of the homeowner and not the tenant.
- The loan becomes due and payable when the house is sold; the loan is not transferable.
- Financing is not eligible for homes under construction, unoccupied homes, or projects in progress or already completed.
If any clarifications are needed for the above information do not hesitate to call us at 204-667-3330 or fill in the contact form below!
Not sure if your project is able to qualify? Here is a list of eligible projects:
- upgrades to electrical service entrance and panel board equipment;
- wiring circuits and associated equipment;
- natural gas piping, venting, ductwork, delivery, permit cost, and taxes;
- central air conditioning systems (must have a minimum SEER of 13.0);
- electric/conventional natural gas water heaters (electric must meet CSA C-191 standard);
- electric and natural gas furnaces/boilers for seasonal, farm, and commercial customers;
- combination heating systems;
- unit heaters (natural convection, forced air, or forced air infrared);
- direct vent natural gas fireplaces (built-in and free-standing);
- security lighting and fixtures (wiring changes must be made as part of other electrical and energy improvement work);
- gas pool heaters;
- permanently installed dehumidifiers (hard-wired);
- permanently installed air purifiers (hard-wired);
- air source heat pumps.
We’ve highlighted the main project that Alsip’s can help you with! We have experienced installers that are certified and guaranteed to provide a satisfying finished result. To receive more information and a copy of the Energy Finance Plan, please fill out the contact form below:
A fireplace can be the focal point of your home as the winter chill draws you and your family indoors. While most modern fireplaces are extremely safe, it is important to remember that these sophisticated machines can still be hazardous if used improperly or treated with disregard. With your family’s safety in mind today we will go over Five Fireplace Safety Tips!
Make sure family members and guests are aware that the glass panel of a gas fireplace, stove or insert can be very hot. Gas fireplaces can run very quiet, unlike a wood burning fireplace which has the crackling wood. Letting your guests and children know that even though the fireplace is quiet and the flame is not large, the glass can heat up and cause burns if leaned against. Always supervise children, the aged, infirm or pets near an operating gas fireplace, stove or insert – or one that has recently been turned off. It helps to consider the glass to always be potentially hot.
Wait for the appliance and glass panel to cool down before allowing anyone to get near it. Cool down can take a long time – an hour or more. Since some appliances use a thermostat to automatically turn the fire on/off, you may not know when the fire was actually turned off. Just because there is no flame doesn’t mean there is no heat, playing it safe and waiting for the fireplace to cool down is the right move.
Read Owner’s Manual
The phrase “knowledge is power” has never been more true when it comes to fireplace safety. Learning the ins and outs of your fireplace can help you reduce risk of injury and will teach you how to properly operate your fireplace. Learning how the fireplace operates properly also gives you the knowledge to watch for warning signs if your fireplace is not operating properly or needs to be maintained and serviced by a professional. We recommend getting your fireplace serviced at least once a year for it to remain under warranty.
Many modern fireplaces have an included remote control for operation. Keep the remote control (if your appliance has one) out of the reach of children. It may also be possible to disable your remote when not in use. Another piece of technology your fireplace may have is a switch lock. A switch lock can prevent children from turning on the gas fireplace, stove or insert. Operation of these switches differs by manufacturer, so be sure to read the instructions carefully.
Install Protective Screen or Barrier
Consumers with existing fireplaces, stoves or inserts should consider installing a protective screen or physical barrier to protect contact with hot glass, especially if there are children or other at-risk individuals in the house. Safety products come in various forms, including:
Attachable safety screens (fastens to the front of the fireplace, stove or insert). Aftermarket safety screens that attach to the fireplace, stove or insert could adversely affect the safe operation of your unit. Contact the safety screen manufacturer to verify that the safety screen is approved by
the fireplace manufacturer for your appliance.
Free-standing safety gates (barriers set up to prevent access).
Free-standing fireplace screens (constructed of mesh screen and set back from the fireplace or stove front).
We’ve mentioned previously that the new Astria lineup of gas fireplaces will have a safety barrier built directly into the fireplace, eliminating the need to purchase and install an aftermarket barrier screen.
To sum up the top 5 safety tips we’ve gone over today, check out this video provided by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association!
Be sure to contact us below if you have any questions about Fireplace Safety or if you would like your fireplace to be maintained and serviced!