Fireplace inserts are ideal appliances when your current fireplace isn’t doing a great job with heating and cost-saving. Inserts are pre-made to fit directly inside an existing firebox. They’re well-insulated and highly efficient, especially when compared to a traditional masonry fireplace.
Like with any kind of fireplace, however, inserts need to be cleaned and kept up. Your chimney sweep will handle the larger annual cleaning task inside the chimney, but you can do a great job cleaning the insert by following these guidelines.
The first cleaning tip is to perform cleaning regularly – at least once a year, or more often if your insert gets heavy use. Even with regular cleaning, the job may take a couple hours, so give yourself enough time.
Cleaning an insert is fairly straightforward, but here are some tips that will help, especially if you’ve never done it before.
1. Lay down a tarp or other protective material several feet out from the opening of the fireplace, and remove any items sitting in that area. The job can
get messy, and you’ll want to protect the surroundings.
2. If there’s a lot of ash and other debris in the firebox, scoop it out with a fireplace shovel then vacuum. Small amounts can be removed just by vacuuming. Make sure there are no lit embers within the ash!
3. Scrub off baked-on creosote inside of the insert with a dry wire brush. Use a smaller but sturdy brush to remove residue from the insert door and hinges. Vacuum or scoop out whatever you’ve accumulated.
4. In a large bucket, combine a gallon of warm water with about a half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and about a half cup of baking soda. Use this solution on a rag or small towel to clean the insert’s interior including the grates and vents. You may have to repeat this process depending on how much residue still exists.
5. Use clean water to wipe down all the areas you’ve cleaned, repeating if necessary. Dry everything with a clean cloth.
6. To clean glass doors, use a quality window-cleaning solution or white vinegar, wiping off the grime until the glass shines. If there is a lot of buildup on the glass, try using a brush that won’t scratch to lightly scrub it off.
If you find that you’ve got a cleaning job bigger than what these tips can address, talk with your local fireplace retailer to find out how to safely go about an intensive cleaning project.
And remember: cleaning a fireplace insert is one thing, but properly cleaning a chimney is very much another. You should have annual chimney cleanings done once a year, no matter how much you use your fireplace, to ensure that the entire system works safely and correctly.
Chimney Solutions of Indiana provides a full menu of cleaning, inspection, repair and maintenance services for our customers throughout the Indianapolis region. When you need it done right, our professionals are standing by. If you have questions or wish to schedule an appointment, call us any time at (317) 757-6979.
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