As a fireplace owner, you shouldn't limit your fireplace maintenance regime to only the cold weather months. In fact, properly maintaining your fireplace during the summer is important to optimize its condition and maximize its life span.
Unfortunately, homeowners often make simple maintenance mistakes during the summer that can cause problems when it's time to light up the fireplace on the first cold day of the year.
The following are six fireplace maintenance mistakes to avoid this summer to keep your fireplace in great shape.
1. Leaving the Damper Open
If a fireplace damper is left open throughout the summer, the home's air conditioner will be less effective at keeping interior air cool. Leaving a damper open during the summer will detract from HVAC efficiency.
Another reason why homeowners should leave the damper closed during the summer is because insect, rodent, and bird pests can penetrate a home through the chimney during the summer months if a damper is left open.
2. Neglecting to Clean Out Ashes
Leaving ashes sitting in a fireplace all summer is not good for a fireplace's condition or a home's interior air quality.
Fireplace owners should make an effort to clean ashes out thoroughly at the end of the cold season. Ashes can give interior air an unpleasant musty and stagnant feeling. Also, ashes that are left in a fireplace can cause a fireplace grate to burn out more quickly because ash exposure can cause metal parts to develop corrosion.
3. Failing to Oil Door Hinges and Dampers
Fireplace door hinges and dampers should be oiled going into the summer season so that they don't become excessively dried out during the warmer months of the year.
Dried out door hinges are more likely to develop rust. They can also make a fireplace door more difficult to open and close.
4. Cleaning With a Flammable Substance
If you do any cleaning yourself on your fireplace doors or other fixtures located near your fireplace, you need to be careful not to use a flammable cleaner.
Flammable cleaning solutions can leave residue in and around your fireplace that could cause problems for you when it comes time to light up the fireplace. Look into the ingredients of any cleaner you use, and make sure that your cleaner is safe for use around fireplace components.
5. Not Looking at Gas Logs and Gas Levels
Fireplace owners with gas fireplaces often assume that their fireplace requires no maintenance whatsoever. However, gas fireplaces do require a few small maintenance tasks during the off-season.
If you have a gas fireplace, you should take some time to inspect gas logs for soot development. Removing any built-up soot on your logs will prevent premature deterioration of your logs while also improving fireplace appearance.
Another thing homeowners with gas fireplaces may want to do is shut their pilot light off during the summer months. Leaving a pilot light burning year-round will cause unnecessary fuel consumption. Also, turning the pilot light off will prevent heat generation during the warm months of the year when the air conditioner is running.
6. Neglecting to Have an Inspection and Cleaning Performed
The summer months are a perfect time for a thorough inspection and cleaning of a fireplace.
An inspection can check for any leaks, cracks, or blockages that can compromise both fireplace efficiency and interior air quality. Another important issue an inspection will look out for is any buildup on a fireplace's damper and in the venting system that could create health hazards when the fireplace is lit again.
A thorough cleaning will clear away built-up debris like creosote that can create a fire hazard.
If you'd like to learn more about keeping your fireplace well-maintained throughout the year, contact us at Carolina Ductmasters for assistance.