Fireplace Season: Ways to Maintain Yours for Energy Efficiency and Fire Safety
By Shannon Steinberg
Oct 15, 2021
The leaves are starting to change and there’s finally a slight chill in the air, which means you’ll want to start using your fireplace. Whether you’re new to your home or not, early fall is a great time of year to inspect, clean and service your fireplace.
Fireplaces come in many forms, including wood-burning, gas, electric, and pellet and traditional stoves. Not all fireplaces are energy efficient but maintaining them properly will increase their ability to be efficient and safe. For instance, a traditional masonry chimney and wood-burning fireplace can lose up to 80% of the heat up the chimney, whereas an electric fireplace loses only 1% of heat.
Regardless of efficiency, fireplace maintenance is often neglected and leads to thousands of fires each year. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and the third leading cause of home fire deaths each year.
Here are a few tips on how to maintain your fireplace:
Wood and Pellet Burning
Clean fireboxes at least once a week and test for ventilation.
Clean out ash when it reaches the bottom of the grate so it doesn’t affect airflow.
Regularly check hardware for damage so they can be immediately repaired or replaced.
Try creosote cleaning logs which help a bit with keeping flammable buildup down.
Schedule an annual chimney sweep.
Clean glass inside and out to remove residues that could catch fire.
Inspect hardware to ensure there’s no tears leaking carbon monoxide.
Watch for vent clogs or blockages that disrupt proper ventilation.
Dust both the inside and outside to clear debris that could catch fire.
Change the lightbulb in your fireplace every 2-3 years to keep it running warm and efficient.
Check the appliances plugged into nearby outlets for any inconsistencies.
Move any flammable items or electrical hazards away from the area.
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