Are you wrapping up your burning season? With spring right around the corner and temperatures finally starting to rise up, most put a stop to fireplace use and start cranking up the A/C.

But what does that mean for your fireplace and chimney?

Well, cleaning up your fireplace and investing in professional care is an important part of wrapping up your burning season and ensuring your system stays in good shape for the long haul. We’re here to answer your end-of-season questions.

And don’t forget to sign up for our Frequent Fires Program, while you’re at it… this is a great way to get maintenance done early and save some dough while you’re at it!

What’s the Safest Way to Remove Ash?

One of the first things you’ll likely notice is the amount of ash that’s built up in your firebox. Clearing out ash at the end of your burning season is a must! Ash is known for attracting moisture, which can trigger all kinds of damage throughout your system. It’s also known for being acidic, which can cause your fireplace grate to deteriorate.

Quick Note: During your burning season, leaving a one- or two-inch layer of ash in your firebox is okay and even recommended by chimney professionals. This is because ash acts as an insulated nest for future fires, ensuring flames ignite easier and travel to other logs with ease.

What’s the safest way to remove ash? We’ve got a step-by-step process:

  1. Wait at least 24 hours. If you’ve recently lit a fire, wait a full day before scooping out your ash to minimize the risk of burns and injuries.
  2. Lay out tarps or protective sheets. This will ensure your floor, furniture, and belongings stay clean and safe.
  3. Invest in a mask and protective eyewear. Ash is extremely fine, so it can easily travel through your air and get into your eyes and nostrils. And it’s especially not good if you’re prone to allergies or have asthma. Play it safe by gearing up!
  4. Grab a metal shovel and bucket. The bucket or container should be non-flammable and equipped with a lid and handle.
  5. Scoop the ash into the container. Using protective equipment minimizes any risk of experiencing burns. Keep in mind, too, that ashes should never be vacuumed! Many view this as an easy way to get the job done fast, but this can damage the vacuum and create a huge fire hazard.
  6. Secure the container tightly with the lid. Sometimes live embers can live in ash for days, and if these are exposed to oxygen, they could reignite.
  7. Store the container on a non-flammable surface. Since live embers can potentially ignite, storing your ash container on something like gravel or concrete is a must. Keep it well away from your home, too – out of the garage, away from sheds, and definitely off of your deck!
  8. Wait a few days. Once you can be certain there’s no risk of fire, dispose of the ashes as you wish. Some simply toss them, while others put them to use in their garden or dump them in their compost. There’s actually lots of uses for fireplace ash!

How Can I Get My Glass Doors Shining?

If your fireplace’s glass doors are dirty, it can put a real damper on the entire aesthetic of your living space. I mean, let’s face it… Your entire appliance could be looking great, but if the glass is dirty, that’s all people are going to see. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get them looking fresh and clean again in no time – just use your fireplace ash!

Answering Your Fireplace Cleaning Questions - St. Louis MO - English Sweep glassWe mentioned above that fireplace ash has many uses and cleaning your glass doors is actually one of these. But first, you’ll want to grab some newspaper. Newspaper is an effective cleaner, thanks to it’s dense fibers, nonabrasive texture, and it’s sturdiness (making it less likely to rip).

Simply ball up the newpaper, get it wet, dip it in your (cooled down) ash pile, then get to work! (We forgot to mention you’ll need some elbow grease, too.)

Before you know it, your glass doors will be looking a whole lot better. Finish by grabbing some glass cleaner (or keep it simple and put equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle), spray the glass down, then wipe it away to get that extra shine you’re hoping for.

Do Chimney Sweeping Logs Really Work?

So, what’s the scoop on chimney sweeping logs? Do they really work? Well if by “work” you mean “sweep my chimney,” then no. Despite their name, they don’t actually sweep your system free of harmful creosote. What they actually do is merely break the creosote down and cause it to flake, so that it’s easier for your sweep to clear out.

Basically, you’ll still have the same amount of creosote you started with, only in a different form. So, yes, calling in a professional to perform a sweeping will still be 100% necessary!

Now, are these logs harmful to your fireplace? No, they’re fine to use, so do so if you’d like. Just don’t think you can skip on professional care.

Do I Still Need an Inspection & Sweeping?

If you own a fireplace, stove, insert, or gas log set then, no matter the fuel type, you should always be investing in annual inspections (regardless of any cleaning you’ve already completed). These are vital to keeping your system running safer and more efficiently throughout every burning season, and they’ll give your sweep the opportunity to spot any hidden damages or harmful buildup.

We also encourage you to invest in these services on the earlier side. Why? Well, first of all, you can save some money! When you invest in our Frequent Fires Program, existing customers get $50 off inspections, $100 of the price of a sweeping, and 10% off future restorations/projects that cost $1,000 or more (for discounts up to $599).

But scheduling early has other benefits, too… For instance, the sooner you clear out creosote the better off you’ll be. The longer it lingers, the more your system can break down, and it can cause some foul odors to creep into your home throughout the summer months, too.

Another reason for booking early is simply for your convenience. Fall and winter are our busier months, so it’ll be harder to book a time and date that works well with your calendar. Even if you do get an inspection in on the early end of fall, there’s always the possibility that we’ll find issues that need addressing, which will then mean turning back to the appointment book and delaying those first fires once again.

Finally, some of the materials we use only cure properly in specific temperature ranges that are only reached in the spring and summer months. Once temperatures drop, certain repairs will be much more difficult to complete, and they likely won’t last as long, either.

Our Crew Would Love to Help You Out!

We’re certified, experienced, and we have a long list of chimney and fireplace services to ensure you stay covered, no matter what.

Give us a call at 636-225-3340 or reach out online – we’d be happy to set you up right for the off season!