Believe it or not, but cold weather is coming…I promise. But now while the weather is still warm and sunny, take a couple of hours and get your fireplace in tip-top shape before those nasty winter temps come barreling in.
Begin by removing any leftover ashes. In the real world this would have occurred after the last fire of the season but life got in the way and you forgot. So now that the ashes are good and cold simply sweep them into a container and properly dispose of them. Remember, if you have a compost pile or backyard garden, wood ashes are a great source of nutrients for both.
Next remove the grate and/or andirons and place on a thick layer of old towels or newspapers to clean. Wet the grate and a scrub brush, add a couple squirts of dish detergent, and scour until clean. Rinse well and air dry.
Because creosote is a known health hazard it will be necessary to take the precaution of wearing protective eye gear and a commercial grade disposable dust respirator. Set up a light source so you can see what you’re cleaning and begin by using your fireplace poker to scratch the creosote build-up to determine its thickness. Experts advise if it 1/8-inch thick or more, it needs to be professionally cleaned. If the scratch is paper thin and you feel comfortable doing so, take a hard bristled brush or sturdy hand broom and as far as you can reach inside the fireplace, sweep down each wall to remove the ash and creosote. Sweep the debris into a container that can be disposed of in the garbage. DO NOT put the creosote contaminated refuse in a compost pile or vegetable/flower garden. Then vacuum the entire inside of the fireplace for any remaining dust.
Mix up a solution of TSP or TSP substitute, bleach and hot water in a bucket. Carefully fill a spray bottle and spray inside the fireplace walls and floor. Let sit for a few minutes and spray again. Using the same hard bristle brush you used on the grate, soak the brush in the remaining mixture and start scrubbing. When finished, use old rags to wipe away any leftover cleaning solution. Since the mixture contains both bleach and hot water no rinsing is necessary.
Finally, clean the glass doors (if applicable.) Vacuum the brick or stone fireplace front and hearth. Replace the grate and/or andirons. Add some nice dry seasoned wood and then start wishing for colder weather knowing your fireplace is ready to go!
The National Fire Protection Association recommends a yearly professional chimney, fireplace, flue and vent inspection.
Be safe rather than sorry and call Closing Contractor today at 864-326-2640 for all your home repairs done right the first time.