Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Tips For Priming Your Fireplace’s Flue

The flue in your fireplace is an essential component in maintaining proper air flow. Flues work to take out hazardous gases produced by fires and replace these gases with fresh air, keeping your home safe and free from smoke. Proper ventilation is essential in being a responsible homeowner. Ensuring appropriate flue care when building fires will help keep your home and family free from harm.

Take the Right Steps

A key component of maintaining good ventilation is properly preparing your flue before starting any fires. Making sure this is done correctly is important in keeping smoke outside of your home and ensuring that your fire stays lit. Follow these steps to ensure that your flue is primed and ready to go before lighting a fire.

  1. Your damper should be open before doing anything with the flue. This first step will save a lot of hassle and reduce the risk of hazardous gases entering the house. Once it is open, you will notice that the cold air from outside is sinking down into your home through the flue.
  2. The cold air coming in needs to be moving the opposite way, so the next step is to heat the flue so that the air flow reverses. The recommended process in doing this is to take a rolled up newspaper, light the end, and hold it up to the damper for a few minutes. The cold air should change direction and start moving up the flue.
  3. Enjoy! Once these simple steps are complete, you can move forward with your fire-starting process. Get the flame going, then sit back, relax, and enjoy a cozy evening indoors.

Be Safe

As always, employ safety strategies when working to build and maintain a fire. Follow these tips to ensure that you and your family are safe when using your fireplace.

  • Keep your chimney clean. Clean out the ashes regularly and be sure that you receive an annual inspection by a professional to ensure that everything is up-to-code. If potentially hazardous substances (such as ash or creosote) build up, you will be at an increased risk for house fires.
  • Dispose of ashes properly. Study up on proper procedures when getting rid of your fireplace ash. Wait until they are completely cooled, then store them in a metal bucket to ensure that nothing potentially flammable will ignite.
  • Never leave the fire unattended. Make sure that someone is always awake and acknowledging the fire until it has gone out completely. This is essential in ensuring that, if something were to go wrong, it can be addressed immediately, greatly reducing the risk of injury or harm to friends and family.

These, as well as countless other safety tips, should be studied regularly by any fireplace owner. Pozzi Chimney Sweep cares about your home and family’s safety. Call us today to inspect your chimney and ask our experts about how you can maintain the safest and most efficient fireplace possible.

Use and Disposal of Fireplace Ash

A common inquiry for those with a fireplace is what should be done with the ashes? If they are not properly disposed of it will not only be damaging to your fireplace, but can also be a safety hazard. Depending on the nature of your fire (what was burned, for how long, etc.), ash has the potential to stay hot for days, which could lead to fires occurring wherever the ash was disposed.

Leaving Ash in the Fireplace

While leaving some ash in the fireplace is often beneficial in building new fires, this should only be done in regulated quantities. A small layer of ash will cause no major issues throughout the burning season and helps maintain the longevity of the new fire that was built. Yet, a build-up of ash will be harmful. If the ash is high enough that it makes contact with the grate, the grate will suffer and need to be replaced earlier than usual. Also, once you have reached the end of your burning season, all of the ash should be cleaned out, as moisture is attracted to ash and is known for causing major damage to one’s fireplace and brickwork. Despite the type of fireplace you have, the acid in the ashes combined with this added moisture will always have damaging effects.

Disposing of AshAsh Disposal Pozzi Chimney Sweep Aurora IL

When the time comes to dispose of the ash, it is recommended to wait until the ash is completely cooled, which may take days. Once the ash is cooled, use a metal container to transport it out of the fireplace. The use of metal is important, as is keeping this container away from any flammable objects. Wetting down the ashes is another safe tip for reducing potential fires.

Other Uses of Ash

  1. Gardening – By placing ash in the garden, many plants can be given more opportunity to thrive. If adding compost to the soil, putting limited amounts of ash into it beforehand is known to enrich it. Also, for plants that are known for soaking up calcium, some recommend adding a quarter of a cup of ash to each plant while putting them into the ground in hopes of keeping them healthier.
  2.  Outside Uses – If you have a pond near your garden, ash will help aquatic plants grow stronger, thus fighting off unwanted algae. Also, placing ash around your gardens and outside plants will help to repel snails and slugs, which are known for causing harm to many plants.
  3.  Cleaning – If your fireplace doors are dirty and building up residue, ash works as a great cleaner. By dampening a sponge, adding ash, and scrubbing away, you are given an easy and affordable cleaning technique. Ash can also be used in making soap. Lye is often combined with animal fat then boiled into soap. Lye can be created by soaking old ashes with water, offering the groundwork for homemade cleaning products.

There are many techniques and uses involved when disposing of ash, but the main thing to remember is to be safe when going through these processes. By following proper procedures and finding out-of-the-box uses for ash, you can enjoy your fireplace to its fullest, while maintaining other areas of your home, as well.