Fireplace Care and Maintenance for Your Charleston Home

Fireplace Care and MaintenanceWhile it rarely gets cold enough in Charleston to truly need a fire, it’s still fun on cool, crisp nights to throw in a few logs and pretend like the snow’s falling outside! Fireplaces also add to the homey feel of our new Charleston houses and so are often a favorite feature.

Here are a few safety and maintenance tips for the wood-burning fireplace in your Charleston home:

  • Don’t burn a fire for more than five hours. (With Charleston’s mild weather, you might have broken into a sweat by then anyway…)
  • Use a screen so you don’t inadvertently end up with an ember on your carpet, or worse, your hair!
  • To avoid smoke, open a window when you burn a fire; the air coming in will be sucked up the chimney.
  • Remember to open the flue before you light your fire!
  • Ensure you have a chimney cap to keep animals out, to stop debris from accumulating and to stop carbon monoxide from flowing into your home.
  • If you have glass doors on your fireplace, clean them by scraping deposits with a razor blade, spraying with water and dishwashing detergent and wiping away with newspaper.
  • Wait at least three days before removing fireplace coals and ashes and don’t vacuum them up. Try using coffee grounds over cooled ashes when cleaning to minimize dust.
  • Leave about an inch of accumulating ashes to serve as insulation for future fires.
  • Clean accumulating creosote, the black, tar-like substance that develops on the interior. It is flammable and should be taken off with creosote remover. Professionals can also remove this build-up. Choose to use hardwoods like maple, oak and ash, which burn hot and long and result in less creosote.
  • For brass utensils and accessories, shine with Worcestershire sauce and a toothbrush.
  • For slate exteriors, wash, dry and coat with lemon oil every six weeks or so to make it shine.
  • Have it inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep once a year (before fall and winter season would be ideal).

Do you like to burn fires in your Charleston home or is your fireplace more of a decorative feature?

For more information about building a new Charleston home, visit or call us at 843-830-0158.