Whether or not we’re in peak fireplace season, maintenance and cleaning are essential to a safe and properly working wood fireplace.

Off-season safety tips:

  • The warm months are the best time to get any maintenance and cleaning done. Visually inspect the chimney, chimney cap, and damper or hire an inspection to take care of it if you don’t feel comfortable getting on the roof. Because wood burning causes so much build-up in the chimney, you should have it cleaned at least once a year at minimum.
  • Observe any tree branches creeping closer to your chimney. Overreaching limbs could accidentally catch fire, so you should routinely trim those back.
  • If you haven’t already, install some carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in the same room as the fireplace and bedroom. Then you’ll be alerted to any contaminated air in your home and if a fire accidentally starts.
  • If you’re cleaning ash and other debris from the chimney, ensure the fire has been out for at least 24 hours to make sure you won’t be dealing with any hot embers. Always clean it out before starting up another long season of wood burning. Then you won’t have as much dangerous build up, and your wood fireplace will work better.

On-season safety tips:

  • Build your wood fire slowly and keep it a manageable size so you can always stay in control. Additionally, you should always use the right type of wood. You should only burn dry, cured wood—burning wood that’s not fully dry could expose your family to mold, and it could increase the creosote buildup in the chimney.
  • Store the wood properly. You can buy wood a season ahead to prepare, but make sure it’s properly stored before burning. Wood will almost always have some hitchhikers, so do not store it in the home. Find a dry, breezy area that’s away from a wall and the doors of your home. This will prevent pests from getting into your home and allow the wood to properly dry out with adequate airflow.
  • Before burning your first fire of the season, check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working correctly. A lot of the time they’re programed to tell you if they need batteries, but it never hurts to check.
  • Always tend to a fire with the proper tools and avoid touching the glass doors as they naturally heat up. All wood fireplaces should have some kind of guards, whether it’s a metal-mesh screen or glass doors, to prevent hot embers from getting out.

We hope these tips help you properly maintain your wood fireplace year-round. If you’re interested in owning a wood fireplace or updating your current one, Brekke Fireplace Shoppe has the perfect one for you. Stop by our Rochester, MN showroom to check out our collection.