Henriette Fireplace February 09th, 2018 - 12:12:39
The first thing that you would want to know about your fireplace is it in good working order? As a masonry contractor in the Seattle area we see quite a few chimney every year that are unsafe to burn and need to be repaired. Some of the things that you would want to look for would be, if the fireplace needs repair or has loose brick, smoking problems, water damage, or damper problems. One of the best ways to see if your fireplace is ready to burn is to ask for an inspection from a masonry contractor in your area. Now is the time to start that fire, and as we said above we want the fireplace to burn in an efficient way.
Fireplace Inserts If you have a masonry fireplace but dont like the associated, draftiness, energy costs or overall inefficiency, you should consider purchasing a fireplace insert, sometimes referred to as a fireplace stove insert. A fireplace insert is basically a wood stove designed to fit into a fireplace. Fireplace inserts are usually constructed of cast iron or steel just like wood stoves. Installing a fireplace insert will typically require the installation of a chimney liner. The chimney liner essentially narrows and insulates the chimney vent and connects directly onto the fireplace insert creating a closed highly efficient system. No more opening and closing the damper. Fireplace inserts can use various fuel options and are clean burning (minimal smoke and particulate emissions). Fireplace inserts like wood stoves are heavy, usually weighing upwards of 300 pounds. This means delivery and installation are better left to certified installers or professional chimney sweeps.
Wood stoves built during the 1970s and early 1980s offer efficiencies of 50 to 60 percent. Those built since new governmental requirements were put in place in 1988 offer 75 percent or higher overall efficiency; that is, they convert up to 75 percent or more of their fuel into heat. Concern about particulate emissions or air pollution carried by wood smoke have also forced changes in wood stove designs. Although old wood stoves gave off up to 50 grams of particulates per hour in smoke, new certified stoves give off only about 5 grams. Most new wood stoves are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and come in many styles and colors. If you thought that wood stoves only came in black and belched smoke then think again. The new wood stoves are energy efficient, clean burning and there is a wood stove to fit any home or life style.
An alternative to using a fireplace brush to get the rest of the ash out would be to use a vacuum. Make sure you use a vacuum that has a good filter on it, as ash has very tiny particles. Ash vacuums are specially designed with extra fine filters, so this would be a great option. It is not as messy as sweeping up all that ash, either! Another advantage to using ash vacuums is that you do not have to wait until your ashes and embers are completely cooled before vacuuming them up. Make sure you carefully read all labels and instructions on your specific ash vacuum. If you really want to do a deep cleaning, you can use a damp rag and wipe down the walls and floor of your firebox. This is completely optional and only for those who like that "white glove" test.