How to Prepare Your Fireplace for Spring

Spring is (almost) here, and you’re probably thinking about all of the things you can do outside. There are plenty of outdoor activities in Ottawa to keep you busy for a while. But, don’t forget about your fireplace! 

At the Fireplace Center & Patio Shop, we’re preparing our showroom for the warmer season, so we thought we’d share with you a few tips on how to prepare your fireplace for Spring.

Tips for Preparing Your Fireplace for Spring

You probably think about getting your fireplace ready in late summer or early autumn. However, there are some perks to giving your fireplace some TLC in spring (and it’s also a great time to tackle any updates you may have been dreaming of). 

Get your fireplace inspected/serviced

Getting your fireplace inspected for springWhether you have a wood-burning or a gas fireplace, it is essential to have it inspected/serviced once a year, to ensure that it runs safely and as efficiently as possible. While it is most common to get your fireplace inspected in late summer, you can avoid the rush season and schedule an inspection in the spring. 

Spring cleaning includes your fireplace

After months of frequent use, your fireplace is likely in need of a good cleaning. Beyond sweeping the soot and dirt out of your fireplace, you can clean the bricks if they happen to be blackened from smoke. 

For a light wash, scrub them with warm water, dish soap, and salt. If the job requires a more vigorous approach, replace the salt with ammonia (for extra-strong grease-cutting) and pumice (for more abrasion). With a bit of elbow grease, you’ll have the inside of your fireplace looking fresh and new! 

Gas fireplaces need routine cleaning too! While gas fireplaces are less messy than wood-burning models, they should be cleaned every month or two to ensure that dirt and dust do not damage any mechanisms. Click here to learn how to do these simple routine cleanings yourself!

Get your chimney cleaned

Get chimney cleaned for springThe most important thing to clean is your chimney! Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned annually (more frequently if you use your fireplace often and year-round). 

With wood-burning fireplaces, creosote builds up in the chimney. Creosote is an oily black substance that accumulates in the chimney as a byproduct of gases that were not fully combusted in the fire. This buildup does three things:

  1. Reduces airflow, causing the fire to burn lower and for more smoke to creep into the room.
  2. It can potentially cause odours in your home during the warmer months.
  3. May increase the risk of a chimney fire. 

After frequent use all winter long, you should get your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned in the spring. This will avoid odours and ensure that it can be used safely—even if not until the first chill of autumn. 

How to reduce creosote buildup in my fireplace 

While creosote is an unavoidable nuisance of wood-burning fireplaces, you can reduce the buildup by only burning very dry and well-seasoned wood: burning moist wood and kindling results in larger quantities of non-combusted gases flying up the chimney.

Chimney cleaning logs also exist, and they can slightly reduce creosote buildup. However, these cannot replace your annual chimney cleaning!

Another equally important reason to get your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year is to make sure that the chimney is clear of debris. Flammable debris such as bird or rodent nests can also lead to chimney fires and are best removed by professionals. 

Gas fireplaces burn cleaner than wood-fueled ones, so creosote buildup is less of a concern. However, it is still essential to get the chimney inspected and cleaned once a year to ensure that no debris or structural damage interfere with ventilation. 

Closing up your fireplace for the season

Not worth keeping your fireplace ready to use year-round? Here’s how to close it down for the summer. 

  1. Clean the firebox and any accessories.
  2. Get the fireplace and chimney professionally inspected for leaks, damage, buildup, etc.
  3. Get the chimney thoroughly cleaned. 
  4. Close the damper.

In the case of a gas fireplace, you may be wondering whether or not to turn off the pilot. While you certainly can leave it on, many choose to turn it off for the following reasons:

  • Cut the safety risk (however small) of a lit flame;
  • Cut the cost of keeping it burning (which in some rare cases can run as high as $25/month);
  • Avoid the small amount of heat it will continue to produce during the warm season;
  • Reduce sulphur buildup on the glass of your fireplace (which gradually accumulates over time as long as the pilot is lit). 

If your fireplace will not be in-use for a while, here are some creative outside-the-box ideas to style your empty fireplace and mantle!

Spring cleaning your fireplace.

Upgrading your fireplace in Spring

Have you been dreaming of updating your fireplace? Perhaps it’s time to invest in an efficient and contemporary wood-burning insert or gas insert. Maybe you’re even thinking of picking out your very first fireplace! Spring is a great time to start that process, and our knowledgeable and professional team will be happy to assist you!

Your Fireplace, BBQ & Patio Experts Since 1952

The Fireplace Center and Patio Shop is your one-stop shop for all your indoor and outdoor essentials. With one of Canada’s largest showrooms, we have over 200 fireplaces on display. With extensive knowledge in BBQs, heating and cooling, and patio furniture, you can trust our team to provide expert advice, quality assembly and installation. Call us today.

Shopping Cart