In order for your outdoor fireplace to function at its best, it needs to be cleaned thoroughly after every use. This entails keeping the fireplace dry and free of ash and debris. A durable fireplace should also be constructed using materials that are both hardy and easy to maintain. Read on for a few helpful tips regarding the cleaning and maintenance of your outdoor fireplace in Wellesley, MA.
Clear the Ashes
In order to build a strong, safe fire, you should regularly clear your fireplace of ashes and debris. It is important not to use any flammable materials, like paper bags, when clearing the ash from your fireplace. Although they may not contain coals or open flames, the ashes from your fire can still be hot enough to make them a fire hazard. Use a metal scoop and bucket to remove the ashes and store them overnight to cool before disposal. Removing the ashes from your fireplace after each use is not only safe, but can also prevent soot stains from forming when it rains. This allows your fireplace to continue looking its absolute best for a longer period of time.
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Take Care of the Chimney
It is important to prevent water and debris from entering your chimney. Anything that enters your fireplace from above poses a threat to its interior, which is not as well-sealed and protected as the exterior. The presence of water in your chimney becomes an even bigger issue during winter, as repetitive freeze-thaw cycles can cause the concrete or stone from which your fireplace is constructed to crack. Debris can also occlude the chimney, preventing hazardous gases from venting out and dispersing in the open air. Consider purchasing a cover you can use to close the opening to the chimney whenever your fireplace is not in use. It is also good to have the chimney swept once a year to remove the build-up of soot.
Be Careful Where You Put It
The more considerate the initial construction of your outdoor fireplace is, the easier it will be to maintain in the long run. For example, optimizing the location of your fireplace can minimize the amount of water damage and debris it is exposed to. Positioning your outdoor fireplace beneath an overhead shelter, like a pergola or pavilion, can minimize the amount of water that might enter the chimney. You should also keep your outdoor fireplace away from the windiest parts of your landscape, as heavy wind can blow ash into unwanted places.
Invest in Quality Materials
Another initial consideration that can minimize the maintenance needs of your outdoor fireplace lies in your choice of materials. You should select materials that are both fire-resistant and can withstand the force of the elements. A clay brick fireplace is formidably classic; however, it is not as durable as new-age concrete pavers and wall units, which can be customized to mimic real brick. Paint, or some form of sealant, may be required to enhance the longevity of the material used. Cast iron fireplaces, for example, can be painted to add character to a contemporary hardscape. Smart material selection will leave you less worried about issues such as water damage and staining to your outdoor fireplace.