Everyone loves a fireplace. Even when not in use, it’s an attention draw. Here’s how to take care of your fireplace needs during dormant months and maintain it as an attractive and interesting as part of your home.
To start the summer chimney maintenance, your first step is getting your chimney and flue cleaned and inspected. Then clean your fireplace front, and decorate your space to match your style!
Get a Chimney Cleaning
This is the best time to schedule a cleaning & inspection by a professional chimney sweep, because this is the season its not in use. Late spring or early summer is also the perfect time for new animal nests and other fire hazards to be removed.
It’s important to get your chimney safety inspected annually, and in most cases, cleaned annually too. This is just one of the responsibilities you have to your home.
Inspecting your chimney yourself is not a safe substitute! Without the proper knowledge and tools, details could be missed that would compromise the structure of your home or could cause a fire. To learn more visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
Clean Fireplace Surfaces
Remove the ashes and debris from the firebox before cleaning the fireplace face. This will keep you and it cleaner, and prevent you from inhaling ash while cleaning. You can do this with a hand broom and a bandana over your face.
Always check to make sure your cleanser isn’t flammable. When cleaning porous materials like bricks or stone, cleansers are very difficult to clean off. It can be a serious fire hazard if yours is flammable.
Be very careful with bleach: it can fade stone. It’s better to wash with plain water than risk bleach damage. And of course, never clean a fireplace while it’s in use, hot, or warm from use.
Fireplace Decorating Tips
For this fire-free season, there are so many ways you can use your fireplace!
- Fill the fireplace with candles. Either all pillars of varying heights, all tapers of the same height but different colors, candle holders or none, whatever appeals to you. Light them and watch the flames flicker without adding notable heat to the home.
- If you want the movement and life of fire, but no heat at all, put a mirror in the firebox. You can fill the fireplace with greenery or blooming flowers lying in the inner hearth, a bowl or a basket.
- Place a painting, prized dish, drawing, collage, or photograph on a table-top style easel in the fireplace.
- Fill old wine bottles with water (and maybe food coloring) and put some twinkle lights behind and between them. When you turn your light string on, the water will refract the light beautifully.
- Don’t forget the mantel! Display what you find appealing, without filling the space up completely.