Fireplaces bring charm into your home in a big way. But that charm isn’t just for winter!
If you want to make the most of what your fireplace has to offer, you may wonder how to use the summer months to your advantage. There is plenty that can be done over the warmer months to help maintain – or even improve – the integrity, safety, and efficiency of this home system.
And beyond that, there are possibilities to breathe life into your living space through maximizing its use as a design feature. At the end of the day, a fireplace is more than just a source of heat… It’s an architectural and decorative element and a gathering spot that can add charm and character to your living space all year round.
Clear Out Your Fireplace
Begin by giving your firebox and fireplace area a good clear-out. That thin layer of ash you kept in place to insulate your firebox during the burning season has lived out its useful life. Now is the time to scoop it out.
Use a fireplace shovel or scoop to empty the firebox of ashes. Once removed, store ashes in a metal container with a well-sealing lid and keep it outside, away from the home and flammable materials, until you use or otherwise dispose of the ashes. Leaving ash in place over the summer can cause odors and deterioration in your firebox and prevent you from being able to use the space as well for the season. Besides wood ash has a host of household uses, so they can help you out in your home and garden.
With ashes safely removed, a mixture of warm water and mild detergent will get your brick or stone hearth looking fresh. Just be sure to avoid harsh chemicals and test a small area first.
Use It as a Staging Ground
Your clean fireplace can now become a staging ground for decorative elements that enhance it as a focal point. Your hearth, mantel, and surrounding area can all be employed.
Organic elements tend to be a great feel for summer. Displaying seasonal flowers, potted plants, and other fresh finds will keep things light and vibrant and create continuity between outdoors and in. Filling your fireplace with decorative logs is another attractive organic option.
Since you won’t need your fireplace screen or tools unless you’re building fires, these can be stored away until it’s time for the next blaze. Consider replacing them with art – a painting, framed prints, or sculptural piece. These can be a feast for the eyes. Or maybe take a more sentimental direction and use your fireplace to display family photographs and favorite books to revisit.
Just remember – once it’s time to light fires again these items (and any other combustible ones) will need to be kept at least three feet from your fireplace.
In the vein of keeping things personal, transforming your fireplace into a retreat by incorporating items that remind you of a favorite family vacation destination or hobby can increase the calm and cozy factor of your home. For example, if you have a favorite coastal retreat items like driftwood, sea glass, shells, and nautical artwork can make your living room a mini-retreat. Remember though, that driftwood is unsuitable for burning in your fireplace when fall comes!
If you want to keep things light in the literal sense, create an inviting ambiance by placing candles or LED fairy lights in your fireplace. These can give you a bit of glow without a lot of heat.
Book Professional Maintenance Early
Before fall returns, it’s essential to make sure your fireplace is working as it should for another burning season. Thinking of maintenance now puts you a bit ahead of the game and helps make sure you won’t have to delay use of your fireplace when fall weather sets in. What does proper maintenance include?
- Schedule an inspection. When our chimney sweep technicians assess the condition of your fireplace and chimney, we examine it top to bottom and examine the integrity of all its components. This helps us identify any potential issues so they don’t become more troublesome through escalating deterioration.
- Have your chimney swept. In addition to your annual chimney inspection, it’ll need to be swept. Creosote, soot, and debris can accumulate in your chimney through use. A thorough chimney sweeping during summer will remove any build-up that could compromise efficiency and safety.
- Get repairs on the calendar. If any pressing repair needs have arisen, it’s best to address them before they worsen. Often, summer provides a helpful window not only for identifying issues, but remedying them.
Invest in Upgrades
If you’ve considered upgrades to enhance the functionality or look of your fireplace, summer is a nice time to have them done. For instance, having a wood insert installed can increase efficiency dramatically without giving up ambiance. Refinishing your mantel or changing up your fireplace facing with new tile, stone, or brick can make a substantial impact on the atmosphere of your home. And if you don’t plan to build fires until the chill sets in, you won’t be inconvenienced if you use the summer months for these projects.
Put It To Use
That said, there’s no reason you can’t use your fireplace for its primary intended function! If there’s a chilly night and you crave a blaze – go for it! Or maybe it’s stormy and a family indoor s’mores night sounds like a memory in the making. Just make sure that routine maintenance and chimney sweeping isn’t overlooked if you continue building fires throughout the summer.
Need Care? We’re Here to Help
As Charlottesville’s local chimney experts, we’re committed to helping you enjoy your chimney for all it’s worth. Get in touch to see how we can get your fireplace and chimney in ship-shape and protect it for years to come. Dial 434-481-3796 or reach out online today.