Wednesday, September 19, 2012

3 Reasons to Clean Your Fireplace

By Samuel Ott

With the fall and winter months approaching, it might be a good time to start thinking about your fireplace and if you plan on using it. Aesthetically speaking, a fireplace is great, but a clean fireplace is even better. It shows that you keep not only your fireplace clean, but your home, as well. This alone will add value to the overall look and appeal of your home.

Aside from the look of your fireplace and how it ties the room together, think about how it can give you comfort and save you money. You’d be surprised at how a clean fireplace can keep you and your home happier, healthier and free of pests.

Ventilation & Safety: The main reason to clean your fireplace is proper ventilation. Many uses of your fireplace leave it looking filthy, whether it’s gas, electric or wood. After awhile debris, cobwebs and ash can lead to poor ventilation. Of course, the one with the most upkeep is a wood fireplace. Gas and electric mostly deal with debris and cobwebs, while wood encompasses includes ash and dirt. Ventilation is vital to protecting you and your home from:

  • Carbon Monoxide: This applies to gas fireplaces only. If it’s not ventilated properly, then gas fumes can escape into your house threatening you with potential carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure the vents are cleaned on a regular basis.

  • Fire Damage/Smoke Damage: Smoke and fire damage apply to wood fireplaces. If not ventilated properly, then smoke can stream into your home and cause smoke damage and even harm your health. Fire damage can be caused due to a loose spark or small piece of wood that flies off the log as it crackles and pops from adjusting to the applied heat. With gas and electric, this problem is avoided, but still deserves the same amount of safety while attending to these fires.

  • Odor: If ventilated poorly, wood fireplaces can create an odor from the smoke. It’s difficult to relax when your home smells like smoke.

Pest Problem: A common complaint about having a wood fireplace is the pests and rodents your chimney attracts. If you haven’t cleaned your fireplace in awhile and look to prepare it for the winter, I guarantee you’re bound to find a bird nest and potentially even bats. Yikes! No, thank you. However, once you clean it and start using it regularly, the smoke tends to scare away any pest that finds its way into the chimney.

Energy Efficient: Fireplaces are a great way to save on energy and money. Chances are if you’re going to use your fireplace, you’ll most likely hang around in that room, so there’s no need for other heat sources to be pouring into other parts of your home when you’re not occupying those areas. This concentrates your heat source making it more efficient, so you can turn down other sources during this time.

When it comes to keeping your fireplace clean, first understand which kind you have. Obviously, gas and electric aren’t as much upkeep, but they still require the same amount of attention when it comes to safety. Whether it’s checking ventilation, wiring or sweeping your chimney, be prepared and do your research, since every type of fireplace presents different challenges and offers different benefits.

About the author
Samuel Ott -  
Writer for Paul Davis Restoration of Kansas City, experts in fire damage restoration

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