A warm and inviting brick, wood burning fireplace is all you need on a cold night. You can snuggle up with someone you love, enjoy a hot cup of something delicious, or even just relax and read a book on your own. It can be romantic, comfortable, and warm. In addition, brick fireplaces can help you save on heating costs.
As with any other major appliance or equipment in your home, proper maintenance is essential to extend its life and ensure the safety of your home.
Here are some things to do to keep your brick stove in top condition and ensure safe conditions in your home:
How to clean & maintain your brick fireplace
Clean the firebox regularly
The combustion chamber is the area where the logs are burned. Ash and other debris can form a thick layer at the bottom of the combustion chamber, which can make it difficult for some fires to burn and create safety concerns. The deeper the ash layer, the more likely it is that hot ash will continue to burn at the bottom, which can set fire to other objects or burn strangers’ hands. Clean the area at least once a week when using a brick fireplace regularly and clean it forever once the season is over.
Perform an annual examination
Chimney sweeps are true professionals. Rent a chimney broom to check and clean your stove at least once a year. This will remove any debris that may have accumulated on the top of the chimney as a result of storms or animal activity, such as squirrel nests. This debris can cause a blockage that sends smoke and carbon monoxide into your home when a fire breaks out. Having this annual inspection and cleaning will ensure the safety and efficiency of the entire unit.
The outside of your brick fireplace can also get dirty, which can greatly affect the appearance of the entire piece. You can clean and polish your accessories with a copper cleaner or home remedies like vinegar or lemon juice.
You can clean the wood shelf or the house with a good wood polisher, and you can also buy a special brick cleaner for any brick in the house. Using the correct products for the materials you have will get the best results and help preserve the life of the materials.
A brick fireplace can add value to your home. It can also help you save money on energy costs, create a more comfortable environment during the colder months, and enhance the enjoyment of your home thanks to the look and feel it creates.
You must practice proper ongoing maintenance to ensure that this important feature of your home is protected and its useful life is extended. With proper care, you can enjoy a warm and welcoming home for the rest of your life, or at least until you move in. But how do you clean it? Here are some tips.
Cleaning brick fireplaces with household items
In many cases, you can clean chimneys with a few simple household items. First, collect your “toolbox”. Most of these affordable items can be found at most hardware or home maintenance stores.
You will need:
- Two plastic buckets and a good peeling brush
- A vacuum cleaner with disposable bags
- Rubber gloves
- A set of goggles or goggles to protect your eyes
- Disposable cloth
- A container containing Tri-Sodium Phosphate or commercial detergent powder
- The “green” alternative to TSP is white household vinegar.
- A small bottle of chlorine bleach (optional to kill mold and mildew)
- Strong metal broom, shovel, and bucket for handling wood ash
- Paper towels, sponges, and cleaning cloths
- Sponge to remove soot
First, you need to remove the piles of ash from the inside of the firebox or ash pit, if your fireplace has one. Be careful how you dispose of the ashes in the trash…Always store the ashes inside a metal container until you can dispose of them properly. Remember that ash can keep coals hot and combustible for up to four days!
You can use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to clean excess dust or small pieces that are too small to clean from the pit and firebox. Then start the cleaning process. If you have glass partitions, you can use a half-and-half mixture of white vinegar and water to make a streak-free cleaner.
Now for the smoke: Take a bucket of clean water and a sponge and dampen the part of the bend you will be working with. Work your way from top to bottom. This saturation with water prevents detergents and solvents from penetrating the pores of the mortar and brick.
Next, mix a mild sodium phosphate solution or use a cleaning powder and scrub brush to coat the face of each brick in the stove. You should only do one part at a time and rinse as you like. Be careful with mortar joints or else you risk damaging the brick fireplace mantels or the fireplace lining could be too expensive.
After you have completed work on the stove and the outer walls, you can start working on the furnace. Here you will find more traces of ash and soot. Since it’s a charred residue, it will turn into smudge-proof ink if it gets wet.
First, the soot should be cleaned as much as possible with a broom, shovel and sponge to remove soot. Do not wet this sponge! Simply use it to pull soot from the top of the combustion chamber to the bottom.
Remove debris with a broom, shovel, or vacuum cleaner. Polish any metalwork and you’re done cleaning brick fireplaces. Stove cleaning is a difficult and time-consuming task if you are not properly trained. Save time and effort by hiring a professional to clean the heater. If you have asthma or other breathing disorders, don’t try this on your own. If your stove is very dirty, contact a professional who knows how to properly maintain the stove.