You hear a lot about how to prepare a fireplace for use in winter, but what about when winter is over? Find out the best way to close down a fireplace when the weather warms and you no longer need to use it.
Clean the Fireplace
When you don’t think you’ll have any more fires, clean the fireplace. Remove any wood that was not burned and have a bonfire or store it in a clean, dry place for next season. Sweep out ashes. Do this slowly, as ash can rise in the air if swept too vigorously. Cleaning ashes isn’t just tidying up, it actually protects the hearth from corrosion.
The last step in cleaning is to clean the fireplace grate, andirons, and tools. Fireplace grates are often coated with a protective product, so you never want to apply a chemical cleaner. These items can generally be wiped with a rag.
Inspect the Fireplace
Once everything is clean, look at the fireplace and the firebox for any signs of damage. You may notice that bricks are cracked or damaged, or you might see signs of corrosion. These indicate problems that should be fixed before next winter, when you put the fireplace back in use.
After a rain, check the fireplace to see whether water is leaking. Water leaks in a chimney are dangerous, because they can cause structural damage. Mold growing in the fireplace is a warning sign of leaks.
If you notice leaks or damaged areas, get them repaired during the off season. You’ll have no problem scheduling an appointment during the spring or summer, and this way you’ll know the fireplace is all set to go come fall or winter.
Check the Damper
The last area that requires inspection is the damper. A fireplace damper controls the flow of air in the fireplace. Dampers should be open when there’s a fire, so the smoke can travel through the fireplace and vent. Dampers should be closed when the fireplace is not in use to prevent drafts. Dampers tend to have either a chain or level that allows you to quickly open and close them as needed.
Brandstetter’s KangaRoof can assist with fireplace issues, including mortar repair, tuck pointing, and chimney cap repair. To schedule a visit for fireplace repair, or to talk more about our services, contact us.