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Wood Burning Fireplace Maintenance
Just as with gas fireplaces, if you own a wood burning fireplace, certain things need to be done to ensure you get the best heat for your home and that you and your family stay safe while enjoying a fire. These are some of the guidelines to help this happen:

Always burn seasoned, hard wood. By using unseasoned or soft wood, you will not get a hot fire and sap can build up in the chimney, creating risk for a chimney fire.

Cleaning a wood burning fireplace is easy. Just remember to avoid chemicals and abrasive cleaners. For the glass, handles, and exterior surface, a soft damp cloth will work perfectly.

Be sure to have your fireplace checked before the beginning of every season. Although you might have taken great care of your fireplace, animals can build nests, leaves can fall inside the chimney, vapors can accumulate, and things can happen that are unseen, creating dangerous situations.

Make sure the venting system does not show any wear or corrosion and that all fittings are tight. If you notice anything loose, have a professional replace the damaged pieces.

Most fireplaces have a special FPI glass that is designed to handle high temperatures. If you notice streaks or dirty glass, you can use a standard window cleaner such as Windex. Using a soft cloth, simply clean the glass while it is cool.

Be sure your fireplace damper closes tightly and if not, it should be fixed. If the damper is loose, cold air can seep in, causing you to loose precious heat.

Creosote As wood is burned slowly, tar and other vapors are produced. When these vapors mix with moisture, reosote is formed. What happens is that the creosote condenses inside the cool chimney flue and as the residue builds up, it can cause a fire to burn dangerously hot. To help prevent creosote, follow these steps:
  • Burn the fire with the damper wide open for 15 minutes every morning during the burning season
  • Every time you use fresh wood, burn a roaring fire for 15 minutes with the damper wide open
  • Never burn anything except seasoned wood
  • Burn smaller fires that are controlled since large, smoldering fires actually contribute to the build up of creosote
  • Have the fireplace and chimney inspected every year by a professional

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