Who here still uses their wood burning fireplace? To us there’s nothing like the warmth that comes from a fireplace. There can be many advantages to using a wood burning fireplace. Not only does it add to the festive feelings of the holidays, but it can save money on heating costs and supplement your main source of heat.
Maintaining your fireplace regularly will ensure that it operates in the safest, most efficient manner possible.
Here are 7 tips to properly maintain your wood burning stove:
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and keep them in working order.
- Keep combustible materials like carpets and furniture away from the fireplace when a fire is burning. Having a guard in front of the fireplace will help keep children and pets away from harm. Be sure there are no combustibles within one foot of all sides of the fireplace.
- Clean ash from the fireplace whenever it reaches the bottom of the grate where it can get in the way of airflow. Remember to wear a dust mask and gloves for safety.
- Have your wood-burning fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected by a certified sweep at least once a year, at the end of the burning season, or more often if you notice creosote and soot build-up on the inside of the chimney. Here are a few fireplace companies to help you inspect and maintain your wood-burning stove or fireplace: Dedert Construction or Tri-State Stove Works (319-837-6992)
- Test out your fireplace by lighting a few small pieces of wood. If smoke doesn’t exit upward from the fireplace into the chimney, but enters the room, immediately correct any problems – potential causes include creosote/soot build-up or other debris in the chimney like bird or animal nests.
- Burn seasoned, not “green” wood. Seasoned wood has been cut and dried under cover for at least 6-12 months. Split wood dries more thoroughly and burns better than whole logs. Green wood will not burn as thoroughly, creating more soot and creosote.
- Burn hardwoods like oak, ash and maple. These woods are denser and heavier, delivering more heat than lighter softwoods like pine, poplar and cedar.
Stay warm and safe this winter by incorporating these easy tips for maintaining a safe wood-burning stove or fireplace into your wood-burning practices. Have you had your fireplace or wood-burning stove inspected yet? What other safety tips do you have to share? We’d love to hear from you!