5 Myths About Fireplaces Debunked

Fireplaces are a prized installation in many homes. Indeed, they often increase the home's property value. Part of the reason for their popularity is that people enjoy the image of sitting in front of a cozy fire on a cold night.

Wood-burning fireplaces are still a common amenity in many homes. However, they do come with their own set of maintenance tasks. Find out the misconceptions about fireplaces and where the truth lies.

1. Little-Used Fireplaces Don't Require Chimney Inspections

Chimney inspections are just like any other household maintenance task — they're easiest when you stay on top of them. Factors besides fireplace use can affect the chimney. For example, animals love to nest in little-used chimneys. The vagaries of the weather can also cause cracks in the chimney. If you engage in yearly inspections, such problems don't have a chance to worsen.

2. Burning Soft Woods Creates Creosote

Creosote buildup is the reason you want to have regular chimney inspections. Creosote is a flammable substance that results from burning wood, and it's the main cause of chimney fires. However, the type of wood you burn doesn't affect the amount of creosote produced. Rather, low-temperature fires create creosote. So, make sure you only burn dried wood for a hotter fire.

3. Metal Chimney Liners Reduce the Need for Inspections

Metal liners do shore up the structural integrity of your chimney. They also provide a smoother surface, so you might see some reduction in buildup. However, ash and creosote can still collect on the metal surface. Such accumulation needs regular removal to keep your home safe while you're running the fireplace. Likewise, you want to ensure no pests have taken up residence.

4. Cleaning the Chimney Is a Do-It-Yourself Job

While cleaning the exterior of your fireplace and even the fire box is a task you can do yourself, cleaning the chimney is not. As Country Living points out, sweeping out the chimney is an extremely dirty job, and it's potentially dangerous. Guidelines for when to clean the chimney aren't clear, but a yearly sweep before fireplace season would help keep your family safe.

5. Fireplaces Make a Room Cooler

This myth is partially true. The fire draws air to fuel its combustion and sends a lot of heat up the chimney with waste gases. However, a simple fix is to place a glass screen in front of the fire box, which reduces some of the air flow. You can also have your fireplace retrofitted with a fire box that draws air from the outside. Both fixes allow you to keep enjoying your cozy fire.

Engage in regular fireplace maintenance to keep your home safe while enjoying a fire.