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Firebox Deterioration

There are so many parts to your fireplace. There’s the ash dump, which lies under the hearth. Then the damper, which is usually located at the base of the smoke chamber. There’s the flue, which helps direct the smoke up and out of your house. Not to mention the crown, which helps keep rain, birds, raccoons, and leaves out of your chimney. However, the part of your chimney that takes most of the abuse is the firebox. This is where the fire actually burns, so it takes a lot of heat!

Firebox Deterioration

The firebox is where the fire directly sits. So, it’s relatively obvious that deterioration will take place more rapidly here than in the rest of your fireplace. Since it’s being heated up and cooled down frequently, expansion and contraction are occurring on a regular basis. This expansion and contraction can cause special stress to the joints, causing them to fail. Also, there is a special type of mortar that should be used in the firebox, refractory mortar. Refractory mortar is specially designed to take extra heat, but contractors haven’t always used this. Why? Simply because building codes haven’t, until recently, been changed to require it’s use in fireboxes. If this isn’t used, your firebox is even more susceptible to rapid deterioration!

Another thing that can cause real problems for your firebox is your chimney crown, or lack thereof. The chimney crown keeps rain and snow out of your chimney. So, when it’s cracked or non-existent, the rain can come in and sit on the smoke shelf. It will then mix with soot to form an acid slurry – and that is trouble for your mortar joints. If your joints break down, there’s no guarantee that the fire will stay contained!

If the refractory panels of your firebox are cracked, it’s important to have them replaced as well. There really is no way to repair these, and they play an important role in keeping toxic gases from entering your home. Unfortunately carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. This means you may not even notice the leakage, until you or your family members are suffering from the effects of breathing it in. Left unchecked, carbon monoxide can cause serious health effects, or even death!

Annual Inspection

Call Chim Cheroo Chimney Service to schedule your annual inspection. In doing so, you are ensuring that your chimney and fireplace system will be receiving a top-level inspection – right down to the firebox! They are highly trained professionals who know what to look for when it comes to firebox deterioration. They’ll check out the joints and the base of the firebox, as well as the refractory panels. Additionally, checking all the other parts to make sure that it is safe for your fire building needs. Plus, they will give you advice on any necessary rebuilds or repairs. They can take care of all of your chimney and fireplace cleaning and repairs; leaving you confident that your family will be safe and sound through another autumn and winter of burning fires in your fireplace.

By Don Rhine on October 20th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Firebox Deterioration

Creative Uses of Wood Ashes

Winter has passed and now it’s time to start thinking about summer days. But first you need to take care of some spring cleaning. One of those things is cleaning out your fireplace in prep for your annual chimney inspection and cleaning. When you clean out those ashes, there are several things that you can do with those ashes. In fact, once you read these good ideas, you’ll want to start saving up your ashes throughout the winter!

Indoor Uses

Since you’re doing that spring cleaning, why not go ahead and use those ashes to help out. First off, while you’re cleaning your fireplace, use those ashes to clean your glass fireplace doors. If you dip a damp sponge into your ashes and then rub them onto the glass doors, you can scrub the soot right away. And when you’re done cleaning those doors, go ahead and polish your silver. A paste of water and soot makes a great silver cleaner.

Ashes also make a great odor absorber. Put some ashes in a small bowl and place that bowl in a smelly room or in your refrigerator and it’ll soon be smelling fresh. Just keep replacing the ashes every few days to keep those odors away.

Did you know that you can also make soap with ashes? Lye is a key ingredient in soap, and when you soak ashes in water you get lye. Mix this with animal fat and boil it. It’ll harden as it cools. You have soap!

Outdoor Uses

After you’ve got the inside of your house all clean and sparkling, you can move outdoors. You can start by beefing up your garden! Everyone knows that using compost is a great way to make your garden grow. You can add wood ash to your compost pile to make it even better – but remember, it needs to be added in moderation. Sprinkle on a layer of ashes for about every six inches of compost.

You can also use ashes to make a tea that can be used to help correct potassium deficiencies in some plants that tend to be deficient, like tomatoes, apples, sugar beets, and raspberries. Just put five pounds of ash in an old pillowcase and tie it shut. Put the bag into a 50-gallon garbage bin of water and let it steep a couple days. Once it’s brewed, you can use it to water your plants – use about a cup around your plants weekly. And if it’s your tomatoes that you’re worried about, you can put a ¼ cup of ashes right in the hole when you’re planting them. One more thing – if you sprinkle ashes around the perimeter of your garden, it can help keep slugs and snails away.

You can also use ashes to make your lawn look great – sprinkle some on the lawn and then give it a good watering to make it nice and green.

Call Chim Cheroo

There are many great ways to use those old wood ashes from your fireplace. And while you’re doing that spring cleaning, make sure that you call Chim Cheroo Chimney Service and schedule your annual inspection and chimney sweeping.

By Don Rhine on April 6th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Creative Uses of Wood Ashes