An new outdoor fireplace will most likely be a favorite gathering place for you, your friends, and family—from s’mores to fireside chats, this is the spot everyone will gravitate to in the backyard. This is why it is important to keep your Middletown, RI, outdoor fireplace in excellent condition with regular maintenance so that you can continue to enjoy these moments together. Here are some things you need to know about outdoor fireplace maintenance.

Inspect the Structure

Any structure settles over time, and this includes a masonry fireplace. As the ground beneath your outdoor fireplace shifts, it can cause cracks and loosened mortar joints. Cold weather, ice, and snow can also damage the structure as moisture penetrates the joints. When the moisture freezes, the mortar loosens, and when this happens over and over, the problems begin to surface as you try to use your fireplace. Sometimes, the stones, bricks, or tile cracks or chips, causing your fireplace to look less than desirable. For a new, properly installed fireplace, this isn’t so much of an issue, but older fireplaces should be inspected regularly.

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Burn Dry, Aged Wood

Burning green, or recently cut, wood can cause more soot and creosote to gather on the walls of the fireplace. Green woods also tend to contain more water than hardwoods, and this causes more smoke and sparks. When the creosote builds up on the interior wall, it can start a fire in the place you do not want a fire—inside the flue. If the build-up on the walls is more than 1/8-inch thick, cleaning by a professional is a must before using the fireplace again. Storing your firewood off the ground and in a dry space can help you reduce the amount of moisture the wood contains, as well. The last thing you need is a fire hazard while trying to enjoy a fire on a lovely night.

Clean the Fireplace

If your fireplace has been dormant throughout the coldest months, then there is a chance that brush, limbs, and other debris has gathered in the chimney. Sometimes animals make a home there, leaving behind nests and dead leaves. Any fragments of limbs and brush that may have blown into the fireplace itself needs to be swept out and removed. Consider cleaning the fireplace with warm soapy water and a stiff brush to remove any dirt or small particles that may prove to be a problem when you go to use the fireplace for the first time.

Related: Creating an Inviting Seating Area for Your Outdoor Fireplace in Bristol, RI

Inspect the Gas Valve

For outdoor gas fireplaces, the gas connectors and valve need to be inspected for efficiency and safety. Make sure that the gas fan is in good working order, and that the ventilation is effective and unblocked. Clean the logs with a soft-bristled brush and soapy water before using your outdoor fireplace for the new season.

Keeping your Middletown, RI, outdoor fireplace in great working order means that you don’t have to worry when you are ready to throw some logs on or flip the switch for a fire. Caring for the outdoor spaces that you love can ensure that they are ready to use when you decide to invite friends over, even spur of the moment. A professional landscape specialist can remove the stress of maintaining your outdoor fireplace so that you can rest easy when the weather spurs you to get back outside.