Autumn brings brisk nights, and nothing makes a home feel cozier than a fire. Your fireplace needs regular care and cleaning to assure a safe and efficient fire. Creosote, a flammable, tarlike substance, accumulates in the chimney and flue and should be removed by a professional. Here are some tips for keeping your fireplace and its accessories clean throughout the season:
o Vacuum or dust the hearth area weekly to prevent dust and soot buildup.
o Do not sweep or vacuum until all the embers have been extinguished for at least 12 hours.
o Burn only seasoned, well-dried wood to minimize dangerous creosote buildup.
o Inspect the firebox, flue, and chimney annually for creosote accumulation.
o 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.
o Never use an abrasive cleanser inside the fireplace. Many leave a flammable residue.
o When cleaning your fireplace, sprinkle damp coffee grounds over the cooled ashes to keep down the dust.
Most of all, enjoy those evening firesides safely.