A fireplace is the part of a room that the eyes are naturally drawn to, even when there are no flames inside. During spring and summer, when it’s too warm for log-burning, the fireplace can add a different kind of accent to your décor. We’ve got a few ideas for how you can decorate your fireplace, along with special instructions on the care of your fireplace during the summer months.
Clean the Fireplace
After a winter of use, the fireplace and chimney become filled with soot and creosote. A professional chimney sweep can take care of cleaning out these parts, or you can take a crack at clearing the soot out of the fireplace. Get rid of the ashes in the hearth using a fireplace shovel and a vacuum. Are there any soot stains on the fireplace face? You’ll want to get that cleaned up as well as cleaning the outer hearth. After all, it won’t do much good to create a decorative effect if the fireplace is a sooty mess. Just remember that beyond the visible soot is a chimney filled with dangerous creosote build-up as well. Make sure you don’t neglect the areas you can’t see.
The following are some tips for cleaning your fireplace:
- Never use a flammable liquid to clean a brick or stone fireplace; it is very difficult to clean off and will create a serious fire hazard.
- Be aware that bleach can cause stone to fade. If there is bleach in your cleaning fluid, use the solution with caution and very sparingly. In fact, it’s best to test your cleaning solution in an inconspicuous place and wait 24 hours or at least until the area dries before continuing.
- It’s typical to clean a fireplace using part cleaning solution and part water. If streaking occurs, add more water.
- The fireplace should be cold and not warm or hot from a fire. Never clean a fireplace while it’s in use.
- Remove the ashes and debris from the firebox before cleaning the fireplace face.
Hire a Chimney Sweep in Early Summer
Summer is when most people get their chimneys cleaned and inspected by a chimney sweep; schedule your appointment early. It’s essential, for safety reasons, to get at least an annual inspection of your chimney by a professional. Chimney sweeps do more than remove the soot and debris from your chimney and flue lining. When you hire a pro, you can rest assured that any breach in the soundness of your chimney will be addressed. If a layperson inspects the chimney, a fracture could be missed which may cause flames to compromise the structure of your home and could cause a fire.
The chimney sweep can inspect and clean your chimney in one visit to ensure every part is in safe and working condition.
Fireplace Decorating Tips
Use your imagination to decorate your fireplace in a way that creates new vitality to your room. While there are many different ways to spruce up an old, out of use fireplace, here are some suggestions:
- You can still enjoy watching flames in your fireplace if you fill it with candles or add an ornate candelabrum.
- Place greenery or blooming flowers in the inner hearth.
- Fill the entire firebox, top to bottom, with firewood cut to the same length, with the ends facing the room.
- Strategically display in the inner hearth a collection of vases or some other type of artwork.
- Find a fireplace cover that will blend in with fireplace front and give the effect of being a walled-off space.
Enjoy your fireplace in a whole new way this summer, and don’t forget to get a jump on scheduling your annual inspection by a professional chimney sweep.
If it’s time for your annual chimney inspection and cleaning, call the certified chimney sweeps at Nayaug Chimney Services. The friendly sweeps at Nayaug have been servicing the local Glastonbury and surrounding Connecticut area since 1978.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110