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Magic Sweep Blog

Do You Have the Right Fireplace Tools & Accessories?

Since cooler weather will be here before you know it, now is the perfect time to make sure your fireplace is ready for fall. Of course, scheduling an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection is the most important step in preparing your fireplace, but you should also take a look at what fireplace tools and accessories you have. The right hearth accessories will make your fireplace seasons go even more smoothly, but which ones are the most essential? Along with our wide selection of fireplaces, stoves, inserts, and gas logs, we also sell fireplace tools and accessories. Our experienced staff can help you find exactly what you need, and we would like to tell you which accessories are the most important to have in your hearth tool set.

Do You Have the Right Fireplace Tools and Accessories Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

METAL SHOVEL AND BUCKET

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, having the right tools to safely remove ashes from the firebox is very important. While the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) does not suggest removing ashes after every fire, they do recommend only having a one-inch layer of ashes on the firebox floor. Any larger amount of ashes can cause the grate to wear down prematurely, so you should remove the excess ashes on a regular basis. To do this task safely, you need a metal shovel and a metal bucket with a lid. Make sure the lid fits securely on the bucket so that any smoldering ashes remain contained if the bucket gets knocked over to prevent accidental fires.

BROOM

Sweeping up ashes is a necessary chore after each fire, and you need to have a hearth broom on hand. Your broom should be narrow enough to be able to sweep out the firebox easily. Being small enough to hang alongside your other fireplace tools is another factor to keep in mind when you are shopping.

POKER

Also known as fire irons, fireplace pokers have been used since prehistoric times. Made from metal, a poker allows you to safely stir up a fire by adjusting the logs and embers without getting burned. Most pokers have insulated grips to keep the handle from becoming too hot. Fireplace tongs are a great companion piece to pokers as they are better to use when it is necessary to move heavy logs.

To make shopping for these fireplace accessories more convenient, you can find a wide variety of hearth tool sets in our showroom at Magic Sweep. No matter if your tastes are classic or modern, you can choose from different styles of tool sets. We also carry tools in different finishes, including steel, bronze, and hand-forged iron. And, we have more than just tool sets. We can help you make your hearth safer with spark screens, gates, and fireplace doors. Contact us for more information about the hearth tools and accessories options we have in our showroom.

Proper Removal of Chimney Ashes

When you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, ashes are a fact of life. Even though the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends leaving a one-inch layer of ash on the floor of the firebox to make it easier to build and maintain a fire, you will still have to clean out piles of ashes and dispose of them. However, even though the fire may have been extinguished hours ago, embers and ashes are still capable of starting accidental fires. Smoldering fireplace ashes have even been responsible for igniting fires that have caused injuries and deaths. In the past few years, improper ash disposal was behind a wildfire in Reno, Nevada, a garbage truck fire in Salem, Oregon, and a fire on the property of former Major League Baseball player, Chipper Jones. Knowing the proper procedures for safely removing chimney ashes can prevent a devastating house fire. Magic Sweep would like to share some ash removal tips with you.

Smoldering Ashes - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

Always treat ashes as if they were hot.

You should never take for granted that ashes are ever safe to move. Sometimes, ashes and embers that have been cooling for 24 hours may not be completely extinguished. Examine the ashes you will be cleaning up for signs that heat or smoke is still being generated before removing them.

Use a metal container and water to be extra safe.

For the safest way to dispose of chimney ashes, fill a metal steamer pot with water. Insert a metal perforated basket inside the pot. The pot should be high enough to submerge all log pieces and ashes. Wearing fireproof gloves, place pieces of logs and ashes inside the basket. Be sure every piece is fully submerged in the water. You will want to stir up the ashes to break up any clumps. Let the ashes and log pieces soak for at least 10 minutes to allow the water to seep into any cracks and extinguish any possible embers. Raise the inserted basket and allow it to drain into the pot. Place the basket onto a pan and then pour the contents of the basket into a plastic or paper garbage bag. You can then pour the ashy water from the pot onto your yard. Wood ash helps to fertilize and improve the quality of the soil of your yard, so be sure to pour out this water evenly across your yard.

Safety should always be your first concern when removing chimney ashes. For more fire safety tips and suggestions, contact us at Magic Sweep. We love helping our customers safely enjoy their fireplaces.

Wood Stove Maintenance

Caring For Your Wood Stove

Wood stoves have come a long way in the modern age — not only are the EPA-certified stoves on the market today incredibly efficient and easy to use, they’re about as aesthetically varied as the imagination can make them, from traditional and classic cast-iron to clean and modern steel units. And more efficiency means less smoke and less creosote, and less mess.

Stoves are still great zone heaters, and they still make any room they’re in look and feel a lot more cozy. At Magic Sweep, we love installing new wood stoves into our clients’ homes, because they truly do offer a whole lot in exchange for relatively minimal attention.

Stoves do, however, require a certain amount of care and maintenance to stay working their best. With Magic Sweep’s help, though, caring for your wood stove can be a breeze.

Annual Maintenance Is Key

We say this again and again, but it still bears repeating: The most important part of caring for your heating appliance is your annual maintenance. That means an inspection and chimney sweeping.

At a chimney sweeping appointment, Magic Sweep techs can get rid of the creosote (and, potentially, debris) that’s built up in your flue, minimize the chance of a fire hazard and maintain your chimney’s peak performance.

During an inspection, we can make sure everything in your system is working properly — from the stove’s door all the way up the chimney — so that you’re not surprised by a leak, smoke, or even a chimney fire.

It is critical to have annual inspections for your chimney. Otherwise, you are courting risk.

It is critical to have annual inspections for your chimney. Otherwise, you are courting risk.

Specifically, here’s what we’ll check — and replace, if needed — on your wood stove:

– We check all gaskets (doors, door glass, ash pans) to make sure they’re not damaged, and still achieve a proper seal.

– We check seams on cast iron stoves to make sure panel joints aren’t allowing for leakage, and reseal if necessary.

– We check glass doors for any cracks or chips that could lead to leaks or breakage.

– We check for warped interior metal parts, and replace if necessary.

And A Little Routine Cleaning

Regular removal of ash is important when you’re using a wood-burning stove, since the ash can build up to the point where it smothers your fire, or worse, creates a fire hazard. How often you clean out the ash will depend on how much you’re using the stove, but if you’re using it pretty regularly, once a week is a good rule of thumb. (If ash is building up to the point where you can only fit a few pieces of wood into the firebox, clean it more often.)

To clean out the ash, wait until embers have completely gone out, and use a metal shovel to scoop the ash into a metal bucket (but take care to be steady, since flying ash can be a pain). Leave a bed of ash at the bottom of the firebox — it’ll help create a better burn. If you don’t have the right tools, Magic Sweep sells a variety of great tool sets.

When necessary, use wood stove glass cleaner to clean soot and grime from your glass stove doors. If your stove has a catalytic combustor, you can use a clean brush to remove ash and soot.

If you have any questions about the proper care of your wood stove, Magic Sweep is always here to help. Just give us a call! https://www.magic-sweep.com/contact-us/