Cleaning and caring for your stove or fireplace will not only keep you and your loved ones safer but also extend the life and efficiency of your heat source. Experts recommend that you have your chimneys cleaned by professionals at least once a year if the stove or wood-burning fireplace is used regularly and every two or three years if you only use it a couple of days a week. A chimney is important to clean as creosote builds up and can ignite, causing chimney fires.
The flue and the damper are different parts of your stove and fireplace. A flue is the pipe that carries the smoke up and out of your home. The damper is only a window to help control amount of heat, although it does let some smoke out as well. Both need cleaning once in awhile so include these in your routine.
If you are burning wood, you will also need to clean out the ashes when they build up. Consider using the ashes in your compost, if you burn only wood and not garbage. There are not many easy ways to clean out ashes. With most stoves and fireplaces, you basically scoop the ashes out into a bucket. But if you are newly installing, I encourage you to think ahead. In my house I can lift up the fireplace grate, slide aside a small door in the floor and drop the ashes into a large container under the house which we empty a couple times a year. It not only makes it easier, but also helps with our allergies as loose ashes aren’t flying all over the living room.
And of course, don’t forget the outside of your stove and fireplace. Check with your manufacturer to insure that you are using friendly cleaners for your particular stove or fireplace.