There is nothing like the ambiance of a wood burning fireplace. But like any heating system, wood burning fireplaces require maintenance to ensure safe and efficient operation. They should be inspected and cleaned every year.
This process is not a do-it-yourself job.
Simply put, get the flue cleaned to avoid a chimney fire. A chimney fire occurs when the combustible deposits in the chimney (creosote) ignite. A chimney fire involves flames shooting out the chimney top, and air roaring up the chimney to feed the fire. A chimney sweep can remove the creosote deposits that potentially cause fires. Second, have the flue inspected. A flue liner in good condition will help protect your home if you do have a chimney fire. Call a trained technician to clean and inspect your chimney flue.
Old Unlined Chimneys
Fireplaces in old homes may not have clay flue liners. Unlined brick chimneys come in two varieties: single thickness (four inches of brick), and double thickness (eight inches of brick). Consider hiring an expert who does not offer a chimney lining service. An unbiased expert opinion on whether a liner is needed.
Glass doors reduce heat loss when the fireplace is not running. Most glass door systems added to an existing fireplace are not designed to be closed when the fire is lit. Some high efficiency zero-clearance fireplaces are designed for operation with the doors closed. If you are not sure, ask the technician who cleans and inspects your fireplace and flue.
Modern wood stoves burn wood cleanly and efficiently. The wood stove must be cleaned and inspected annually. An expert will check the flue, the hearth and the clearance to combustibles.
Today, a fireplace can be added to almost any home. A zero-clearance fireplace can be installed directly against an existing wall and supported by the existing floor (a foundation is not required).
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