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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Fireplace Tips for the Cleveland Area

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

What should I do before I use my fireplace?

  1. Hire a Chimney Sweep. …The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris.
  2. Check for Damage. In addition to cleaning, a chimney sweep should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Chimney liners should also be checked for cracking or deterioration.
  3. Cap the Chimney. A cap fitted with wire-mesh sides covers the top of the chimney and keeps rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. Replace or repair a cap that's missing or damaged.
  4. Burn Seasoned Hardwoods. Choose dense wood, such as oak, that's been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Green wood and resinous softwoods like pine produce more creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney.
  5. Don't Overload. Small fires generate less smoke, thus less creosote buildup. Also, a fire that's too large or too hot can crack the chimney.
  6. Build It Right. Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire.
  7. Use a Spark Guard. Prevent errant embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. A guard in front of an open flame is especially important when the room is unoccupied.


Is it safe to leave the fireplace on overnight?

Never leave your burning fireplace unattended. It is important to extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house, and imperative that you allow ashes to cool fully before you dispose them, and best to leave them in your fireplace until the following morning if you've enjoyed a fire the night before.


Can you get carbon monoxide from a fireplace?

The less complete the burning (combustion), the more carbon monoxide is generated. Gas hot water heaters, gas and oil furnaces, fireplaces, and wood stoves all generate carbon monoxide. One of the reasons carbon monoxide is so deadly is that you generally can't see or smell it: rarely do its victims have any warning.


Fun Facts About Fireplace Ashes!

  • Ash can de-skunk pets! A handful rubbed on Fido’s coat neutralizes the lingering odor.
  • Hide paving stains. According to This Old House, ash absorbs wet paint spatters on cement; sprinkle the ash directly on the darkened spot.
  • Ash is a great compost enricher. Sprinkle ash into your garden before you add the organic compound to your soil. The ash will enhance its nutrients but adding too much can ruin the mix.
  • Ash is a great pest deterrent! When spread evenly around your garden beds it will repel slugs and snails.
  • Ash is a natural ice melter. It won’t leave a residue like salt, which can also harm your pet’s feet. It won’t hurt the soil or concrete beneath either.
  • One tablespoon of ash per 1,000 gallons of water adds enough potassium to control pond algae. The ash also strengthens other aquatic plants that compete with algae, slowing its growth.
  • For plump juicy tomatoes This Old House editor McGrath adds ¼ cup into the hole prior to planting them.
  • A damp sponge dipped into the sooty ash makes a fine fireplace door cleaner, and if you’re feeling really adventurous, a paste of ash and water makes a wonderful and non-toxic metal polisher for your silver!


If you or anyone you know experiences fire damage this winter, call SERVPRO of Beachwood and Cleveland Northeast at (216) 464-4498! We extend our services throughout the Cleveland and Beachwood area including, but not limited to: University Heights, Mayfield Heights, and Euclid. 

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