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Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance Tips

outdoor fireplaceAn outdoor fireplace is a great feature for warmth, atmosphere, and entertaining guests. Proper maintenance of your outdoor fireplace not only keeps it looking good, but ensures safe and efficient operation. The amount of maintenance required depends on the type of fireplace, materials used and fireplace age. Performing a few simple steps will help your outdoor fireplace last longer.

                                              Regularly Trim Undergrowth

Excessive undergrowth is an invitation for fire to spread from an outdoor fireplace. Regularly trim grass, vines or trees around the fireplace. Not only is it a fire hazard, but plants and shrubs can attach to the joints and cracks causing the fireplace to deteriorate. When trimming is performed regularly, it keeps the fireplace looking good, safe, and helps prevent deterioration.

Clean Your Chimney

Creosote or residue from burned wood can build up. Use creosote sweeping logs that can help loosen the buildup. If there is a 1/8” or greater buildup, you need to clean the fireplace. It is recommended to clean the fireplace before using again if the buildup is 1/4” or greater. Regularly checking and cleaning your outdoor fireplace keeps it safe. If you don’t want to do it yourself, a landscaping contractor can easily perform the tasks.

Vacuum Ashes

Vacuuming is a quick and easy way to care for your outdoor fireplace. Use a shop or ash vacuum to remove all ashes from the firebox. These vacuums are to be used with cold ashes, so wait several days after the fire is extinguished to use them. With the various attachments available, you can reach small crevices for ash removal and prevent dust from being blown around.

Replace Aged Fire Box Panels

If the fire box simply needs updating after showing wear, spray paint the outside to refresh the black exterior. More severe signs of aging may indicate the fire box panels need replacing. Over time they may become cracked or damaged.

Maintain Metal Fire Grates and Screens

Metal fire grates occasionally need maintenance and replacement. Clean once or twice a year using a wire brush to scrape soot away and a hose to wash.  Keep your fireplace safe by keeping the screen clean. Canned air will keep fireplace screens clean by blowing away dust, soot, and other debris from the netting.

Outdoor Wood-burning Fireplace Maintenance

A wood burning fireplace produces a lot of debris. Sweep out any debris like leaves or left-over burned wood using a broom or a vacuum. Remove dust, ashes and debris off the mantle and hearth. A stiff-bristled brush and warm, soapy water can be used to clean. For areas difficult to reach, which may require stronger cleaners for buildup, get professional help.

Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance

Be sure to turn off gas before performing cleaning or maintenance. Regularly check the ventilation system and exhaust fans. Burners should be cleaned with a soft cloth and burner holes with a soft bristle brush. Make sure you consult manufacturer guidelines for proper cleaning products and procedures to avoid warranty problems. Clean fake logs with a soft-bristled brush at least once a month to remove soot and ash. Turn off the pilot light during months when your fireplace isn’t being used.