Fireplace Cleaning & Maintenance

Cleaning Your Fire Place:
When they are cold, remove ashes in excess of 2 inches with a fireplace shovel or vacuum cleaner.

· Wash the hearth and front of the fireplace or stove exterior occasionally with a sponge or cloth dipped in an all-purpose household cleaner and water solution.

· Clean a cast iron exterior with a hand dishwashing detergent and water solution. Rinse with a clean, damp sponge or cloth and dry. Remove soot from brick or stone facing with a soft brush, then scrub with a strong solution of washing soda or trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water or all-purpose household cleaner and water. Old brick (more than 50 years old) should only be vacuumed to avoid crumbling.

For big jobs; Add 4 ounces of naptha soap to 1 quart of hot water. Heat until soap dissolves. Cool, then stir in ½ pound of powdered pumice and ½ cup of household ammonia. Mix thoroughly. Remove as much of the smoky deposit as you can before applying a coast of the soap mixture with a paint brush. Allow it to remain on for 30 to 60 minutes. Scrub with a scrub brush and warm water. Sponge with plenty of water to rinse.

Clean the mesh every few months with a vacuum cleaner and dusting attachment. To wash, use a sponge or cloth dipped in an all-purpose household cleaner and water solution; rinse and dry.

Fireplace maintenance: A fireplace has five basic parts: firebox, hearth, damper, flue and chimney The firebox is where the fire is set and its floor is the hearth. The damper is the metal gate between the firebox and the chimney. Open it before lighting a fire. When a fire is lit, smoke travels through the damper and the flue-lined chimney out into the open air.

Before cold weather begins, take the following steps to be sure your fireplace operates properly and safely.  Check the flue for leaves or birds’ nests. On a sunny day, use a mirror and a powerful flashlight to look up the chimney through the open damper. If you see blockage, call a chimney sweep for help.  Once a year, hire a chimney sweep to clean soot from the flue and inspect it for cracks. You want to be assured that no flame will find its way to your house’s framing through a crack and that caked soot, which can cause a chimney fire, is cleaned away.  If you fireplace has warm-air circulators embedded in the firebox walls, vacuum the ducts at the beginning of each heating season. Have any cracks in the firebox and hearth repaired.

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