ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fireplace Maintenance | Wood Burning Stove Care

Updated on November 20, 2015

Keeping the Home Fires Right with Proper Fireplace Maintenance

There's nothing like a roaring fire to give your living room or family room that warm, cozy feeling - as long as the fire is confined to its place. Without proper fireplace maintenance or wood burning stove care, you run the risk of a house fire and the danger increases with each additional use. Scared? You have every right to be.

Unbeknownst to a lot of people, the Provincial Fire Code (Canada) states that all wood burning appliances be evaluated every year and cleaned as often as needed. Okay, simple right? Only who do you get to do these things and how do you know when you need to get your "appliance" checked? The person to call for proper fireplace maintenance is a chimney sweep.

If the first image you conjure up is of Dick Van Dyke's character in Mary Poppins, you might be a little surprised. Modern chimney sweeps are trained professionals who will check and clean the smoke chamber, lining, brickwork and anything else that might pose a possible fire hazard in your chimney.

Fireplace maintenance is best done by a professional
Fireplace maintenance is best done by a professional
Chimney sweeps will remove built up creosote from your fireplace chimney
Chimney sweeps will remove built up creosote from your fireplace chimney

Professional vs Do-It-Yourself Chimney Sweeping

Credentials and Maintenance

In order for someone to get their government certification, they must go through courses and training, be fully knowledgeable in all the fire codes and apprentice under a certified chimney sweep.

The men reading this article are probably rolling their eyes and thinking they can do their own chimney sweeping and fireplace maintenance. This is true, but the average homeowner cannot vacuum out the smoke chamber, nor can they make an evaluation on the safety of the chimney. However, this does not mean that they can't do some things themselves to determine if a professional should be called and to save money on the smaller aspects of chimney and fireplace maintenance.

For one thing, a home owner can watch for signs of raccoons, squirrels and birds taking up residence in the chimney. Raccoons are the worst, especially in the spring when they make their way across the roof and set up housekeeping on the smoke shelf. The droppings you find at the bottom of the fireplace or stove is a definite clue that they've moved in.

It does not take professional training to check brickwork, either. If there are firebricks that are cracked or some of the mortar is missing, you need to call someone to fix it before the burning season. Same goes for the outside of the chimney.

There should be a cap and screen on the flue tiles at the top of the fireplace chimney to keep out rain and debris. The cap and tiles can be checked by homeowners, too. They should not be loose and any sign of the tiles flaking is a clue to pick up the phone and call a professional for your fireplace maintenance needs.

This article is a reprint from the November 1995 issue of the Old South Advocate
This article is a reprint from the November 1995 issue of the Old South Advocate

Wood Stove Care and Fireplace Maintenance - Ounce of Prevention & Bonus Tip

What can you do to cut down on the amount of maintenance that your wood burning appliance needs?

  • Burn only clean, dry hardwoods
  • Do not use leftover wood from building projects that may have paint on it, or is pressure treated
  • Clean wood and a hot fire burns cleaner, creating less creosote deposit in the chimney

One final tip: If smoke fills the room when you try to light a fire, the chimney may be cold. This causes a down draft that pushes the smoke down the chimney instead of up. To warm the chimney and reverse the flow of air, stuff newspaper onto the fire shelf and light it. Once the draft is being drawn to the outside, you should be able to get your fire going. If you have this problem repeatedly, call a fireplace maintenance professional. In many instances, the problem is a chimney that is not tall enough.

So with the peace of mind that you get from properly maintaining your fireplace or stove, you can continue enjoying those cozy evenings around the fire.

Fireplace Maintenance reprint by Shirley Anderson

________________________________________________________________

Burglary Prevention - Protect Your Family 

Stair of Despair

Confessions of a Football Widow

_______________________________________________________________

Emily's Garden "Chimney Sweep"

Fireplace Maintenance - Chimney Cleaning Cautions

© 2008 Shirley Anderson

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks, Lgali! If you have a fireplace, hope there's some helpful info here for you.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 

      9 years ago

      Lot of good information, I find all your article thumbs up..

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We had a wood fireplace, John, and I loved some aspects of it - the crackling, the glow, the warmth, the smell of the wood burning - but it was messy and there was usually a draft along the floor. I was thinking of replacing it with a gas one, but we sold the house instead. I did love that fireplace, though.

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      9 years ago from Texas

      We've got one of the gas fireplaces because the original owner of the house didn't want the bother of ashes, etc. As for me, I miss the ambience of a real fire, and am thinking about pulling the gas out, even though it's a pain.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)