5 Stainless Steel Chimney Care Tips 5 Stainless Steel Chimney Care Tips
A fireplace with a stainless steel chimney can be a comfortable and cost-effective luxury during colder seasons. It can warm your house and reduce your heating bill. Like any other home appliance, however, it requires occasional maintenance and care, and even more so due to the fact that it involves combustion. The fireplace itself, while requiring some cleaning every so often, is a relatively low-maintenance component. Most fireplaces are built using stones, bricks or a steel firebox, thus eliminating the worry of fire spreading, and a screen placed in front will keep cinders and ashes from spilling out onto your floor. The chimney requires the most maintenance of all the parts, but if you take care of it from the start, it will never be too much.
Inspect and Clean
As fire burns in a fireplace, ashes and smoke build up on the inner surface of the chimney, called the flue, and form creosote. This creosote can build up over time into a thick, flammable layer which, not only is dangerous, but can choke off the air flow your fireplace needs to effectively burn (thereby causing more smoke, which causes more creosote, which is a dangerous cycle). It's a good idea to hire a professional chimney sweep to come into your house and scrub the interior of the chimney and remove all dangerous build-up at least once or twice a year, or more often, depending on how often you use your fireplace. If you only use it occasionally, you can hire inspectors to come and check the interior of the chimney and determine if it does need to be cleaned.
The Wood You Use
There are a number of things you can do to prevent the build-up from reaching thicker levels, however. Make sure the wood you burn is completely dry; green or wet wood produces much more smoke than cured wood. Your choice of wood to burn, also, makes a difference in the amount of smoke your fireplace will produce. Hard woods, such as oak, hickory, and maple, produce the hottest flame with the least amount of smoke, while softer, less dense woods, such as pine, spruce, and elm, spout clouds of smoke with not much heat.
A chimney liner is another barrier of protection against fires. Newer model chimneys generally have liners pre-installed, and, if yours doesn't, you can buy a kit to install one yourself or have it professionally installed. Liners usually have a layer of insulation, which helps retain heat from the fireplace, and they also provide another layer to keep the smoke and heat farther away from rafters and the interior of your house. Some have special features to minimize the build-up of creosote and keep the draft operating at optimal levels. These are nice, but if you take basic precautions, there should only be minimal build-up in your chimney to begin with.
As long as you perform regular maintenance and cleaning, your chimney will last your fireplace for years to come.