Your fireplace needs regular care and cleaning to assure a safe and efficient fire. Creosote, a flammable tarlike substance that accumulates in the chimney and flue, should be removed by a professional, eliminating the worry of at least one potential fire hazard.
Give your fireplace and its accessories routine cleaning throughout the wood-burning season to eliminate an accumulation of soot, ashes, and creosote tars.
Here are several cleaning suggestions:
- Vacuum or dust the hearth area weekly to prevent dust and soot buildup. Do not sweep or vacuum until all the embers have been extinguished for at least 12 hours.
- Burn only seasoned, well-dried wood to minimize dangerous creosote buildup.
- Inspect the firebox, flue, and chimney annually for creosote accumulation.
- Do not use water to drown a fire unless there is an emergency. It will make a paste of the ashes, which is difficult to remove.
- Never use an abrasive cleanser inside the fireplace. Many leave a flammable residue.
- When cleaning your fireplace, sprinkle damp coffee grounds over the cooled ashes to keep down the dust.