In cold countries the most essential thing in a house is a fireplace as this keeps the house cosy and warm. But nowadays many people prefer to have a fireplace as this gives an aesthetic appearance to your home in spite of not being very cold. A well constructed and a well designed fireplace imparts a classy and royal touch to your home. Here are some tips you should keep in mind before constructing a fireplace to have a perfect one at your dwelling.
Proper planning is of utmost important before you construct a fireplace at home. The fireplace should be of the right size in accordance with the interior of your home. After you have drawn a rough sketch, designing should be your next step. There are three main components of a fireplace, the hearth, the firebox and the mantle. The mantle or the exterior of the fireplace could be of a wooden finish or a marble finish according to your liking. You can opt for a Victorian style which has very intricate carvings.
Depending on your need for a liquid fuel fireplace, a gas fireplace or an electric fireplace the designing and construction should be governed accordingly. Even the chimney for the outlet of gas and smoke should be well constructed.
Once your fireplace is well designed and constructed the next step is its maintenance. Carbon and soot generally get deposited on the fireplace walls. To keep the beauty of the fireplace enhanced the walls of the fireplace has to be cleaned at regular interval. It should be cleaned with soapy solution. If the fireplace is intricately designed than more proper cleaning is required.
Maintenance does not only mean paying others to do your job, it also means giving it some of your own time and attention too.If you haven’t cleaned your fireplace since last winter then it’s high time you need to pick up the things and start doing it. During winters, the air is generally crisp and nights are all time cool and to complete this whole scene fireplace is the perfect thing to install. The same fireplace which keeps your home warm and cozy, if not maintained properly the same can bring fire in your home and turn your entire home into ashes. When it comes to maintaining your fireplace, it’s better to leave it in the hands of professionals. Maintaining your fireplace involve using of various tools and ladder which can prove to be very risky if you are not comfortable using all this things. For maintaining your fireplace, you need to get it cleaned professionally after every 40 to 50 fires or after burning things which is equal to four cords of wood. However going for professional cleaning for maintaining your fireplace can be really expensive and if you cannot afford this professional cleaning of your fireplace, then you are also available with option of maintaining your fireplace by yourself. If you are not aware of such things which you can d yourself for maintaining your fireplace then to help you out here are some of the things which you can do for maintaining your fireplace without need of professionals.
Tips for maintaining your fireplace
Open up the damper
The first and foremost thing to do for maintaining your fireplace is to open up the damper. After opening up the damper, you need to start inspecting your fireplace. Take a flashlight and see whether there is any such thing which is blocking up your fireplace. You need to check your fireplace every few days for maintain your fireplace and keep your home safe. Several times chances are there that animals might start making their residence in the warm and cozy places; one of them can be your fireplace. If you are leaving your chimney idle for several weeks then there are high chances of these things happening. Your fireplace is on the roof which is open and surrounded by lots of trees and hence there are also chances of lots of debris, branches, leaves and such things building up on your chimney. For maintaining your fireplace, you also need to get rid of that debris and clean it. If you find any big blockage in your fireplace which is not your cup of tea to clean, it’s better not to take risk and call professionals for cleaning it. There are several companies working for fireplace inspection and cleaning, hire them for safer side if you are not comfortable doing it.
Get rid of dirt, ashes and debris
The second steps of maintaining your fireplace is clean it thoroughly. Check the firebox and clean it. Get rid of any ashes, debris, dust, dirt which have been collected during the time of it not being used. Just this basic and normal cleaning and maintaining your fireplace will remove the substance called detritus which can prove a big fire hazard if not cleaned eventually. Now when you have made your mind to clean and maintain your fireplace, you need to know that the dirtiest byproduct to clean is not the soot actually but it is the dirty air. For maintaining your fireplace, you need to keep the air clean and healthy while burning fire. Now you will be thinking how to keep the air clean and healthy. For dong this you need to consider your hearth habits.
The fire which is crackling in the hearth will produce smoke exploding some of the air pollutants like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide. These elements can really affect adversely to any individual who is suffering from any breathing issues. This is not at all good for kids and senior citizens having asthma problem. The safest way for maintaining your fireplace and taking into account these issues, you should switch from wood burning in the hearth to the gas fireplace. These models are very new and they will give the similar look as that of burning of real wood in the fireplace. There are certain self-contained units which can attach into the existing fireplaces. Go for choosing that fireplace which is certified by EPA. These fireplaces are available in various styles and sizes which can be adjusted into any existing fireplace. In such fireplace, you can see the fire through a screen with good amount of heat output but very less amount of smoke.
Go for green burning
For maintaining your fireplace, you also need to think about the output of pollutants of fireplace. For those who are using gas fueled fireplaces, they must use composition flames like presto and Dura flame. This will help in reducing the indoor air pollution. As compared to wood, this will make 50% less production of smoke and other pollutants. There is also a different way of lighting the fire to reduce pollutants. Learn the right way to do it and reduce pollution.
Burn clean wood
While burning wood, ensure that you are burning seasoned wood, manufactured logs, clean wood and white paper which are non-glossy. Burning garbage, rubber, plastic, coal, charcoal, treated or painted wood, plywood, particle board or colored paper which are producing toxic gases which can harm the lungs and clog up your flue are not allowed. These are really not advisable as burning material as they are very harmful. Send all these stuff out for getting recycled.
Start with small fire
When you want to light up fire, you should start up opening the damper wide at first and then start gradually with small fire. Take some sheets of newspaper and crumple them and also take some little pieces of softwood kindling like fir or pine and then light them. After that when the fire grows start adding bigger kindling gradually.
Once the fire starts to burn briskly, start adding some of the hardwoods logs like oak which should be placed close enough with each other and be able to keep each other hot. While doing so ensure that it is having enough amount of oxygen in the room for circulation. Basically the idea is that to create a little hot fire at first which will be keeping the dirty smoke to the minimum level.
Smoke and bad fire are always together
Make sure that you are burning clean. However this is difficult as whenever there is smoke in the fireplace, there will always be bad fire accompanying it. Extreme level of smoke is a symbol that your fire is not properly lit and is not able to burn properly. Create a habit of walking out of your house and taking a look at the chimney after the time of 20 to 30 minutes of lighting the fire. If it is the good fire then there will be only thin layer of white steam. Whereas on a contrary if you see smoke then try and adjust the air inlets or dampers for letting the more amount of air enter the room. If the smoke is dark this indicates that there are more amounts of pollutants and fuel is getting wasted.