Records show that 44% of single-family homes created in 2018 have at least one fireplace. Showing how in-demand fireplaces are and how many homes currently have them.

A fireplace is a great element to have to add beauty as well as warmth to a home. Though you have to also understand fireplace cleaning if you have a fireplace.

Fireplaces have to be properly maintained to function as they should. Especially if you use it very often and rely on it for most of your home’s heat.

Keep reading to find out how to keep your fireplace clean and functioning as it should all winter.

Fireplace Maintenance 

Like anything in your home, your fireplace requires maintenance. This is an area that is susceptible to grime and ash building up rather quickly.

Because of this, you will need to keep up with your fireplace maintenance. Creating a schedule that helps you to stay on top of important chimney cleaning and fireplace tasks.

You can’t always keep your fireplace clean yourself, but there are some things that you can do. So that you can prevent hard cleaning jobs or any damage from occurring.

Clean the Fireplace Doors

The doors of your fireplace are very exposed when it comes to fire, smoke, and ash. They can often become very dirty and difficult to see through.

If left uncleaned, these doors can become dirtier and dirtier over time. Creating a thick build-up of ash that will be much harder to remove yourself.

That is why you should be cleaning the inside and outside of your fireplace doors often. Using a special glass cleaner or a mixture of dish soap and hot water.

If you keep up with this, the doors will be easy to clean and won’t take as much time. Allowing you to see through them and prevent severe buildup.

Scrub the Tiles

Most fireplaces are surrounded by tiles of some kind. These may be marble, ceramic, or stone tiles meant to protect the floor surrounding your fireplace.

These are great to have as they protect your floors from ash and sparks from the fire. But they will also need to be regularly cleaned and maintained.

It is important to be very careful when cleaning fireplace tiles as they are often easy to damage. You shouldn’t use anything acidic, as dish soap and water will work.

You should clean the tiles with either a soft sponge or a damp rag, never scrubbing with anything abrasive. You should also often vacuum or sweep the area of debris.

Depending on the tiles, the care may be different as stone tiles are porous, but ceramic tiles are easy to scratch. So you should clean different tiles in ways that help to protect them.

Deep Clean the Firebox

You can use a specialty cleaning spray or dish soap and water to clean your firebox. Doing this when there has not been any fire, so everything is cool to the touch.

You can saturate the firebox walls and floors using a bristle brush to scrub sand debris. If you are struggling to clean the firebox, you may want to let the mixture sit.

If the firebox is very dirty, this can take some time and elbow grease. So it is better to keep up on this area of maintenance so that you won’t have as much grime to clean.

Clean Andirons and Grates

The andirons and grates also have a tendency to become very dirty. The ash can build up and even become sticky and hard to clean.

If the grates and andirons are very dirty, you may want to take them outside to clean. Using your dish soap and water solution to scrub until you start to remove the buildup.

You should have bristle brushes set aside specifically to use for your fireplace. As these are ideal for cutting through hard-to-clean ash and grime.

Rinse off the andirons and grates before allowing them to dry before putting them back where they belong.

Fireplace Cleaning Services

Though there is plenty of fireplace maintenance that you can do yourself, some jobs do require a professional. Sometimes it is better to have someone with experience do the cleaning.

Not only does this save you time, but it also guarantees that the job will be done better. Even your best effort isn’t going to be quite up to the skills of a professional.

So if you want your fireplace and chimney to be in good hands, it is best to hire someone who knows what they are doing. Especially if your fireplace or chimney is very dirty.

Chimney Sweep

Hiring a chimney sweep is the best option when it comes to chimney cleaning. As this is a big job that most homeowners shouldn’t take upon themselves.

A chimney must be kept clean to function as it should. If it isn’t cleaned, this can lead to very large issues later on down the road.

So it is important to keep your chimney clean for safety and financial reasons. Especially during the times of the year when your fireplace will be in regular use.

A chimney sweep will usually sweep the fireplace, clean the chimney, and clean the smoke chamber and flue. They will also do an inspection of the chimney.

So a chimney sweep can also do a basic chimney inspection to make sure everything is safe. They will usually inspect the exterior of the chimney, inspecting for proper clearances.

They will let you know if they see any damage or things that need chimney repair. So you get a lot of help when you hire a chimney cleaner instead of doing it yourself.

This is something that you should have scheduled annually to keep your chimney in working order.

Fireplace Inspection

Having your fireplace inspected is another thing you should do annually. As a professional will be able to spot any concerns.

A fireplace inspection is similar to a chimney inspection, as the entire fireplace is checked out. This includes the chimney, which will also be checked for any issues.

A professional will check the chimney cap as well as the firebox for damage. They will be able to locate any cracks, gaps, or other damage to the firebox that could be a hazard.

They will also look for any build-up of creosote from wood that hasn’t completely burned. As this is one of the main causes of chimney fires in home fireplaces.

Overall, your entire fireplace will be inspected for damage, old age, or any safety concerns. So that you will know if you need to invest in a fireplace or chimney repair.

Tips for Keeping a Fireplace Clean

Now that you know how to maintain your fireplace, yourself and with the help of a professional. You may want to know how to keep your fireplace clean.

As this is an area of your home that can get out of hand with how dirty it is. The good thing is that there are ways to keep your fireplace cleaner.

So that there is less work to do to keep it looking nice and functional. As well as safe, as too much build-up can be a safety risk if substantial.

Use Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is wood that has been left to dry out for at least a year. An important step that allows any moisture to leave the wood so that it is ideal for burning.

Wood that isn’t seasoned is going to still be damp and not good for burning. You also shouldn’t use wood that has been outside, exposed to moisture.

Damp wood creates very smoky fires as it does not burn as well. It will create more grime and can leave more buildup in your firebox and chimney.

This kind of wood is also not ideal for burning as it won’t create as much warmth. The fire will struggle to stay strong, producing less heat for your home.

Have a Chimney Cap

Part of fireplace cleaning is ensuring that your chimney and fireplace stay free of other things. Such as unwelcome animals that may crawl in through the chimney.

That is why a chimney cap is so important and should always be present. It should be in good condition and fit your chimney opening.

The last thing you want is for an animal to decide to make its home in your chimney. Or try to enter your home through the fireplace.

Keep the Area Free

If your home has a fireplace, this area should be kept free of other objects. For it to be safe, furniture and other objects should be a few feet away.

As there is always the risk of sparks coming out and landing on something flammable. The heat can also damage decor and furniture, heating it up and even causing singeing.

This is also a fire risk as flammable objects can overheat and cause a fire.

Leave Some Ash

Though it is important to clean the firebox often, you should leave some ash behind. This is a great thing to do as ash holds in heat and can give a new fire a boost.

Ash holds in heat and will create a warmer fire within a shorter amount of time. Helping a new fire to put out warmth faster and stay warm for longer from the extra ash.

Though you will want to remove all of the remaining ash if you are doing a deep clean. As you should do this every so often to keep the firebox clean and visible.

Clean Buildup 

You should often clean away buildup when the fireplace is not in use. This is very important as it helps your fireplace to function as well as it should.

Buildup can also hide an assortment of issues that your fireplace or chimney may be having. So keeping things clean can help you to spot issues before they get worse.

Cracks can hide under the grime and gradually become worse. Or white stains could be a sign of a leak that could become an issue of rust or mold.

These are all issues that could be spotted if you maintain your fireplace. Making problems less costly if you catch them in time to have them repaired.

Know When to Hire a Professional

Though it is great to keep your fireplace clean on your own, you may need to hire a professional. A professional like a chimney sweep can help you to get to areas that may go overlooked.

They will also do a much more thorough job as they know exactly what they are doing. As well as having all of the right tools with them when doing fireplace cleaning.

If you noticed that your fireplace or chimney is very dirty and isn’t working as it should, you may need to hire someone. As it can be difficult to clean a lot of grime on your own.

This is also a good time to have everything inspected for potential issues. As something may be hiding under all of the grime or may be causing your fireplace to not work as well.

Fireplace Cleaning Guide

If you have a fireplace in your home, you may need to know more about fireplace cleaning. As a fireplace requires upkeep to keep it functioning smoothly and looking nice.

Does your fireplace or chimney need to be deep cleaned or inspected? Contact us today at Texas Residential Services for local fireplace and chimney cleaning options and services.