As temperatures drop, homeowners everywhere will fire up their hearth appliance to help keep their homes warm and cozy. Too many homeowners, however, forget an important aspect of having a hearth appliance: Hearth appliances need regular maintenance! Before you fire up your hearth appliance this year — whether it’s wood burning, pellet burning, gas or electric, vented or unvented — you need to take steps to make sure it’s clean, in good repair and safe to enjoy.
All hearth maintenance, unless you have an unvented appliance, begins with a chimney sweep. In wood-burning fireplaces, creosote builds up within the chimney and poses a fire danger when it reaches a certain thickness. Soot can cause the chimney to corrode in gas appliances. In all vented appliances, the chimney can become blocked with animals, animal nests, leaves and debris that can turn the chimney into a hazard.
All hearth appliances need to be cleaned regularly. While ash obviously needs to be removed from wood- and pellet-burning appliances, gas, and electric appliances require cleaning, too. Dust can collect on blowers and logs, compromising their ability to work safely and efficiently. Ceramic logs can break down over time, and the pieces can clog the working components of a fireplace. Your hearth appliance, whether vented or unvented, should be professionally cleaned at least once per year to keep it in good working order.
Beyond cleaning, an inspection of the appliance and the chimney by a certified professional is perhaps the most important aspect of hearth appliance maintenance. A professional chimney sweep will inspect all working components of your hearth appliance to make sure they are functioning properly and safely. Your sweep also will make sure all gaskets are sealing properly, firebricks and chimney liners are free from cracks and in good repair and that the damper and chimney cap are in place and free from damage. Ultimately, your hearth inspection ensures that your hearth appliance is in good repair and safe for another season of use.
Other Maintenance Considerations
There are a few other things you should be doing to make sure your hearth appliance is ready for use. Check the area around the fireplace to make sure it is free of any furniture, décor or combustibles that could pose a fire hazard. Invest in other safety tools, such as a fireplace screen or fire-safe rug for in front of the fireplace. And check all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to be sure they are functioning properly.
Before you light your hearth appliance this fall, make sure you’ve carried about the necessary maintenance so that you can enjoy your fireplace or heating stove without incident this fall and winter! If you’re due for a fireplace cleaning or inspection, or if you have questions about repairs or the care of your fireplace, contact the fireplace professionals at Tri-County Hearth & Patio sister company, Magic Broom Chimney Sweeps. The certified professionals at The Magic Broom can take care of all of your hearth maintenance needs so you can safely warm your home this winter.