. A vibrant, glowing hearth area often becomes the center of home activities when the mercury outside drops. But like with any seasonal appliance, one might wonder what can be done with a fireplace when it’s not doing its job. Here are several ideas.
- Add it to your list of spring cleaning tasks. During the long days of winter, it’s not really feasible to mount a serious fireplace-cleaning project, because the fireplace is in regular use. When that use tapers off in the spring, it’s a great time to do a thorough cleaning. Start with these tips.
- Sweep and shovel all ashes and debris out of the firebox.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to pick up remaining dust.
- Make a mixture of 50/50 all-purpose cleaner and warm water.
- Use a sponge or soft cloth to wipe down and clean all areas of the fireplace that contain any smoke or ash residue.
- Avoid harsh cleansers used at full strength.
- Never use any cleaning solution that is flammable, because any of it that’s left on surfaces could ignite the next time you build a fire
- Arrange for an inspection and cleaning. Professional chimney sweeps have the training and expertise to check all areas of your fireplace and chimney for damage, and most of them can perform any necessary repairs. Cleaning is important, too. During a long season of use, chimneys can experience a significant build-up of creosote, which is very flammable and potentially dangerous. A chimney inspection will typically cover these and other areas:
- Chimney cap and crown
- Creosote deposits
- Bricks and mortar condition
- Chimney flue functioning
- Rust on surfaces
- Outside debris within the chimney
- Overall functioning of the fireplace/chimney
You may feel that you can accomplish some of these inspection tasks, but it’s always safer to go with an experienced professional who understands the workings of a fireplace and chimney better than you do.
- Make your fireplace a decorative amenity. Since you’re not using the fireplace during the warmer months, there’s no reason to let it just sit there empty for everybody to look at. Do something with it. Get creative.
- Add a series of colorful candles inside and outside the firebox to create something beautiful.
- Use the fireplace like an art exhibit by placing interesting or antique objects in and around the hearth area.
- Completely cover the firebox with a handsome painting – maybe some artwork the kids produced in school.
- Since spring and summer are the growing seasons, fill the firebox with attractive plants and flowers – and don’t forget the space around the fireplace and the mantel as you design a lovely indoor garden.
There’s plenty to do with a fireplace in the off-season. And there’s plenty to do with one during the cold months, too. Marsh’s Stoves & Fireplaces of Toronto is your local fireplace expert, with a wide range of fireplaces, stoves, fireplace inserts and hearth-related products to choose from. Before the next winter starts, stop by our showroom at 3322 Dundas Street West, or call us at (416) 762-4582.