Three Things to Do With a Fireplace in Summertime
A fireplace fits with winter like a hand fits a glove, but what do you do with your fireplace during the warm months? When the outdoor temperatures rise, the idea of even watching a fire burn doesn’t have much appeal. But even in the off-season, an unneeded fireplace remains the focal point of any room.
One important thing to do with your inactive fireplace is to be careful to close the damper so that air conditioning doesn’t escape through the chimney. Besides this practical tip, the following are three things to do with your fireplace during in summer months:
• Hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney.
• Give your fireplace a thorough cleaning inside and out.
• Decorate the fireplace to enhance the room’s décor.
Hire a Chimney Sweep to Clean and Inspect the Chimney
It’s important to have a professional chimney sweep inspect your chimney because there may be problems with the chimney or flue lining that a layperson doesn’t see or recognize. Creosote buildup in the chimney also creates a hazard, and the chimney sweep has all the needed equipment to ensure that your chimney is ready to safely burn through another winter season.
Clean the Fireplace Inside and Out
You can always hire a professional chimney sweep to clean your fireplace so that you don’t have to deal with the soot. There’s no doubt about it, cleaning the inner hearth of a fireplace is a very messy undertaking; and cleaning the fireplace face and outer hearth requires elbow grease. The following are some basic steps for cleaning your fireplace:
• Make sure the ashes are cold before beginning.
• Remove all of the ashes using first a fireplace shovel and then a vacuum cleaner.
• Wearing rubber gloves, wash the fireplace face and outer hearth with a cloth or sponge dipped in a mixture of water and all-purpose household cleaner. If you have a brick fireplace more than 50 years old, the old brick should only be vacuumed; otherwise, you could cause crumbling of the brick and mortar.
• For especially dirty jobs, put 4 ounces of Fels-Naptha soap in a quart of hot water. Heat on the stove until the soap dissolves. Let it cool and then thoroughly mix in ½ pound of powdered pumice along with ½ cup of household ammonia. Remove as much smoky deposit as you can before applying a coating of this soap mixture using a paint brush. Leave the coating on for 30 minutes to an hour. Next, scrub the soiled area with a scrub brush and warm water. Rinse using a sponge and plenty of water.
If you would like help from a professional to get the job done right, contact the fully licensed and insured professional chimney sweeps at Northeastern Chimney. They have been cleaning and inspecting Connecticut area chimneys since 1984. The crews are available at any time of the year to service your chimney but the Chimney Safety Institute of American recommends having your chimney checked before the start of the burning season each year, making the summer months the ideal time for a chimney check-up.
Decorate your Fireplace
The possibilities for decorating your fireplace are virtually endless. Here are a few ideas:
• Place a decorative fire screen in front of the fireplace.
• Put an ornate candelabrum in the firebox. It may be best to open the flue when you light the candles.
• Tie together a bundle of birch twigs or logs and place the bundle in the fireplace. The textured bark and white in the birch gives the wood visual appeal.
• Place botanicals in clear glass containers on the mantel.
• Frame a chair in front of the fireplace or place a bench there for additional seating.
• Put a mirror in the fireplace, which will add more light to the room.
A fireplace is an asset to any home, and there’s no reason it can’t be enjoyed even without a crackling fire. What will you do with your fireplace this summer?
Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110