Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance
Outdoor fireplaces beautify a backyard and provide years of enjoyment. But like with any heating appliance that produces a flame, outdoor fireplaces require proper maintenance and safety precautions. Here are the most important points you need to know.
Chimneys of wood burning fireplaces need periodic cleaning, usually on an annual basis. Smoke from burning wood produces creosote, a sticky, flammable substance that clings to the inside walls of chimneys. Fires can easily start in chimneys that have not been properly cleaned. This includes outdoor fireplaces.
In order for smoke to travel through a chimney, the chimney must be free of obstructions. Like with chimneys for indoor fireplaces, outdoor fireplace chimneys are susceptible to obstructions such as bird’s nests, small dead animals and leaves, twigs and other debris. All this should be removed to keep smoke moving out of the firebox and up the chimney.
Cleaning masonry outdoor fireplaces
It’s good practice to remove ashes and leftover wood chips after each fire has completely gone out. Brushes and brooms are ideal tools for this. Occasionally you might want to hit the whole unit with a pressure washer to bring it back to a like-new state.
Fire pit maintenance
The primary maintenance job with fire pits is regularly inspecting the base, which can begin to deteriorate over time, particularly if it’s subject to extended burning times. Copper fire pits are popular and durable, although they will begin tarnishing from the first use. You can clean off the tarnish, but many homeowners enjoy the rustic, natural look of a tarnished copper fire pit. The tarnish will not harm the copper nor present a safety concern.
Outdoor fireplace safety tips
Ensuring that your outdoor fireplace is in good working order is the first step toward safe use. Here are some other important tips:
· Never leave fire unattended in any type of burning appliance. This means don’t leave the property, and don’t allow fires to burn at night when everyone is asleep.
· Don’t burn wood that contains paint, stain, glue or other toxins, and never use lighter fluid or other flammable liquid to start a fire.
· Clay chimineas are economical alternatives to traditional outdoor fireplaces, but bear in mind that they must be handled gently to avoid chipping. Chimineas become very hot during use, so wait 24 hours after a fire before moving them. Never use chimineas on a wooden deck.
· If you have small children and animals that will be enjoying the fire, protect them with a sturdy safety screen in front of the firebox.
· The area directly around outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and chimineas should be free of clutter, particularly the kind that could ignite.
· Keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.
Probably the only thing better than a lovely outdoor fireplace is one that is properly maintained and used safely. If you want to know more about the benefits of outdoor fireplaces, call the experts at Inglenook Energy Center in Conifer, Colo., at (303) 838-3612. We sell and install across the entire Denver region.