It’s that time of year again when you start thinking about firewood and fireplace and presents you’ll be buying for your dear ones! There is nothing as wonderful as gathering together to unwrap the presents, and the unwritten rule of almost any family tradition is that the whole family gathers around the fireplace, sits there and enjoys every single thing they’ve gotten. To make this experience possible, you need to have a properly working fireplace.
Here are some times that will tell you whether your fireplace is ready for the winter or it could use some repairs.
Scrape out the loose mortar
Use scaring tool to rake out the joint. It’s best you started gently, probing for areas that are loose.
Rake out the joint with the scoring tool. Start gently, probing for areas that are loose. Until the joint is about ½ to 3/4 inch deep, dig out the deteriorated mortar and see that the brick surfaces on both sides of the joint are mortar-free.
Brush the joint
Sweep the joints clean, using an old paintbrush and a vacuum. Then, brushing water liberally into the joints s is probably the best way to go. You should apply this onto the brick faces as mortar doesn’t cure or adhere well on bone-dry brick.
Pack the mortar
You need a small batch of mortar that you’ll be mixing with room-temperature water. Stir until the mix gets pasty and apply it on the edge of the brick towel. When placing it, make sure it’s in the line with the joint. Using a tuck-pointing trowel, push the mortar into the joint.
The joint should be packed about halfway full, before its pressed down firmly as you pull the pointing trowel. Naturally, you’ll go with handle-first, along the joint a couple of times. Until the joint is filled, repeat several times.
With the edge of a trowel, scrape the excess mortar off the brick faces. After you’ve done that, wipe them down immediately with a damp sponge. Make sure you don’t touch the joint with the sponge. To make it harden properly, run the jointer over the soft mortar. When the mortar is firm to the touch (which is in about 30 to 90 minutes) go over everything with a stiff-bristle brush. As soon as the following day, you can start enjoying a fire in your fireplace again.
What we described above is a usual technique of cleaning a fireplace. As you probably know it yourself, there are two types of fireplaces – wood ones and gas ones, and cleaning them depends on the type they are, naturally.
Here’s a tip – if you have a gas fireplace, you should consult a technician for everything that seems out of place. To ensure both the pilot and main burners are operating properly, have the airways of both of these cleaned.
To ensure these defense monitors are operating properly, you should replace the batteries and then test any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors you have in your home.
When in doubt, you should consult someone who is an expert in this area so you don’t cause more damage with trying to fix things yourself. Even though cleaning a fireplace may seem like a simple piece of work, you need to be careful about plenty of stuff.
Further, if there is a possibility – burn hardwoods like oak, maple, ash and birch. They burn hot and long and these are the main advantages of hardwoods; consider having less pitch and sap, making them cleaner to handle. Also, they tend to cause less creosote buildup. They are generally more expensive than softwoods and that’s something that may be a problem.
Consider installing a stainless steel liner to ensure wood-burning fireplace safety. The liner will keep the fire and its embers contained and withstand even the highest temperatures.
No matter what approach to cleaning you have, it’s important you clean regularly – both its interior and the floor of the fireplace. Vacuum the ashes and clean the ash box.
No matter how good you think you lit the fire, if there is smoke, something wasn’t done right. This is regulated by letting more air in.
Well, now that you know the little tricks of keeping the fireplace in shape and the fire burning, you are hopefully ready for a dosage of enjoyment.
Damian Wolf is a passionate writer and a DIY hobbyist. He loves to write about his own DIY projects, and about all interesting stuff regarding home improvement. Damian is also a tools collector, who mostly uses online tool shops to add new pieces into his personal collection.