Cleaning Up the Fireplace for Spring

A fireplace is the focal point of any room. It’s a grand architectural feature that gets attention, which is sometimes unwanted.

The fireplace can also be a hot spot for insect activity. Pests large and small can use the chimney to gain access to a home if you aren’t careful. Other bugs may hop a ride inside on firewood. Without proper maintenance the fireplace can quickly become a hotbed of pests.

This year during spring cleaning pay special attention to the fireplace and surrounding area. A few adjustments and a little elbow grease is usually all it takes to make sure your fireplace is both insect resistant and energy efficient. Get everything clean and pest-free with these tips.

Fireplace Cleaning Tip #1 – Clear Out Old Firewood

It may be tempting to just leave the leftover firewood in a basket or on the grate inside the firebox, but the rustic décor can pose a problem. Pests, including wood destroying termites, will be attracted to the dried out wood. It’s best to remove all of the wood from the fireplace as well as any stacks outside of it. If you don’t want the firewood to go to waste invite some friends over for a springtime bonfire.

Fireplace Cleaning Tip #2 – Clear Out the Ash

Next, use a fireplace shovel to clear out the cooled ash. Go slow so that the ash doesn’t get too disturbed and fly everywhere. A face mask can also keep you from breathing in the ashes. Dump the ashes into a paper bag and discard.

Fireplace Cleaning Tip #3 – Vacuum Out the Firebox

Once the wood and other debris are removed, give the firebox a good vacuuming. Use a shop vac with a long handle so you can get all the way to the corners in the back.

Fireplace Cleaning Tip #4 – Give the Grate a Good Cleaning

Take the grate out of the fireplace and bring it outside for a good cleaning. Use a wire grate brush to knock off all the ash and crust that built up over the winter.

Fireplace Cleaning Tip #5 – Check Around the Fireplace for Damage and Air Leaks

Part of the spring cleaning process is sealing up cracks and crevices that allow for airflow and give insects direct access inside. Unlike the exterior doors and windows the fireplace is often overlooked. Check all the way around the edge of the fireplace to see if there are any gaps between it and the wall. Examine everything from both the inside and out, then start filling the gaps with caulk.

Fireplace Cleaning Tip #6 – Don’t Forget to Close the Flue

Even after putting so much focus on cleaning up the fireplace you may forget one critical step – closing the flue. The flue is a pipe or opening in the chimney that allows the smoke to ventilate out when it’s open. Anytime the fireplace isn’t in use the flue should be shut tight. Unfortunately, a lot of people forget to close it. If that happens climate controlled air will go out and bugs will come in.

Fireplace Cleaning Tip #7 – Consider Having a Professional Inspection

If you found damage or it’s been a while since your fireplace was professionally cleaned it may be a good time to call a chimney sweep. A professional chimney sweep can thoroughly inspect the chimney and fireplace for safety or efficiency issues.

Cleaning out the fireplace will take away a hiding place and point of entry for pests. You can also stay bug-free this spring season with custom pest control treatments from Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc.

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