If you have a fireplace or fireplace insert in your Pittsburgh home, more than likely, it is the focal point of the room. During the warm summer evenings, it may not be in use, but that doesn’t mean that it warrants less attention. Below are tips on caring for your fireplace and accenting the area with new décor, while not in use.
Now is the time to inspect your fireplace and fireplace insert to look for any damage or needed maintenance before you have a potential safety issue this winter. Consider hiring a chimney sweep to do the inspection and clean your chimney. For safety reasons, an annual inspection by a professional is highly recommended. They will inspect all of the areas that you may not be able to reach or see, such as the chimney crown, flue, smoke chamber, damper, ash dump, and chimney liner. A certified inspector will also take a look at the foundation.
A chimney sweep can inspect and clean your fireplace in one visit, but there is some cleaning that can be done by you to maintain the safety of your fireplace. Give your firebox a thorough cleaning treatment. Use a fireplace shovel and a vacuum to remove the ashes and a chimney brush to scrape away any reachable soot and creosote. A solution of a half cup of strong cleaner, a cup of bleach and a gallon of water works well, but baking soda and vinegar can be used instead. Don’t forget to clean the outer hearth, so it is free of soot and ashy dirt.
Adhere to the following tips while cleaning your fireplace or fireplace insert:
Do not use a flammable liquid to clean a brick or stone fireplace. It can create a serious fire hazard.
If using bleach, be aware that it can cause stone to fade. Test on a small area and allow it to dry for 24 hours before continuing.
Your fireplace should be cold, not warm or hot. Never clean a fireplace while it’s in use.
Always remove the ashes and debris before cleaning the fireplace face or outer hearth.
This summer, enjoy your fireplace in a new way with accent lighting and décor. There are various ways you can dress up your fireplace—you are only limited by your imagination. Consider the following suggestions:
Add a candle display or beautiful candelabra. If real candles are a hassle, choose electric ones.
Place shapely potted plants or blooming flowers inside or in front of the fireplace for a refreshing summer look.
Fill the entire firebox with firewood, cut to the same length, and strategically placed with ends facing outward.
Display a collection of decorative vases or other artwork in the inner hearth.
Drape a swatch of colored fabric across the opening and add white lighting behind it to give a dramatic effect.
Add a fireplace cover that blends well with the outer hearth and gives the appearance of a walled-off space.
For more than 35 years, Ed’s Woodshed, located in Bridgeville, PA, has been selling and installing the industry’s best hearth products in Pittsburgh homes and the surrounding areas. As a premier retailer and full-service provider, we offer everything from framing to drywall to stonework to chimney maintenance. If you are looking for full-service assistance with your fireplace or fireplace insert this
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