Outdoor fireplaces are great for parties, family gatherings, and cozy nights by the fire. If you have an outdoor fireplace in Michigan, you may need to take some extra steps to protect this feature from snow, rain, and other weather concerns. An outdoor fireplace has different maintenance requirements than an indoor fireplace, even though their overall use is relatively the same. Here are some outdoor fireplace maintenance tips designed for Michigan homeowners.
Potential Problems With Outdoor Fireplaces In Michigan
Before we get into the actual maintenance tips, we wanted to point out potential problems you may experience with an outdoor fireplace in Michigan. The most common issues include:
- Foundation Settling: The soil in Michigan constantly freezes and thaws in the winter, which causes foundations to shift and settle. This can impact the structure of your outdoor fireplace. Michigan’s soil also has a high sand content because of the Great Lakes, making it prone to settling in the spring and summer months. You may eventually need concrete leveling or foundation piering to support your outdoor fireplace, but the settling may just lead to cosmetic issues.
- Brick And Mortar Damage: Even the best masonry work can crack and crumble with time. Constant weather exposure and ground settling play big roles in this damage. Thankfully, there are brick repair services available to get your fireplace looking like new.
- Defective Parts: Your outdoor fireplace operates with a series of parts. Even a basic wood-burning fireplace has mechanisms involved to direct smoke and control the flames. Because outdoor fireplaces are exposed to harsher conditions than indoor fireplaces, their parts may break down faster than their interior counterparts.
Keep The Fireplace Clean
Sweep out debris from the bottom of your fireplace and use creosote cleaning logs to clean your wood-burning fireplace regularly. If you have a gas-brining fireplace, you will need to clean the burners and fake logs to get rid of the ash and soot. With both types of fireplaces, you need to get a professional chimney sweeping at least once a year. The chimney sweep will thoroughly clean the fireplace and will check for any brick damage you may not have noticed yet.
Complete Brick Repairs Quickly
If your chimney sweep notices damage on your outdoor fireplace, get it taken care of right away. This also goes for any cracking you see on the exterior. Brick repair will protect the structural integrity of your fireplace so you don’t end up with a big repair bill later on.
Trim Plants Near The Fireplace
If you have bushes, trees, or tall grass plants near your fireplace, make sure they remain trimmed back before use. Most plants are highly flammable and will be a fire hazard if they are too close to the fireplace. Even if you have a screen in front of the fire to control the flames, the heat coming from the fireplace could create a spark. You’re better off pruning ahead of time.
Avoid Use During Extreme Temperature Shifts
Michigan is known for having extremely cold winters. These temperatures are often too low for a fireplace to operate effectively in. If the weather has recently warmed up, you should wait a few more days before using your fireplace. This gives the equipment, bricks, logs and/or burners a chance to warm up and thaw so they are less likely to crack from the heat of the fire.
If you need more information about outdoor fireplace maintenance in Michigan, contact the experts at Brickworks Property Restoration.