In this post, you will learn:
- The timeframe for fireplace cleaning
- How often you should have your chimney cleaned
- Why you need a certified chimney service
- Cleaning tips
- How to clean glass doors
- Tips on cleaning gas fireplaces
- How often to clean an electric fireplace
- The benefits of a clean fireplace
- Which fireplace is most fuel efficient
- The MagikFlame story
- How MagikFlame is built
- How to choose the right fireplace
- What MagikFlame customers are saying
- Payment plans and financing options
Once upon a time, to safely enjoy the crackling flames of a fireplace, you had to clean up the ashes, debris and chimney buildup on a regular basis. Although modern technology has changed all that, if you still have a wood burning fireplace or gas logs, you still need to pay attention to cleaning. If you let creosote build up, you increase the risk of chimney fires. Also, if you get behind on your fireplace cleaning, the air your family breathes will contain more toxins like carbon monoxide that can negatively impact their health.
How Often Should You Clean Your Wood-Burning Fireplace?
How often you should clean your fireplace depends upon how frequently you use it. The type of wood you are burning in it and the location where you have it also affect your cleaning schedule.
Tips on Fire Wood Type
Hardwoods, such as the following, burn cleaner as a fireplace fuel:
- Fruit woods
Hardwoods have low sap content, so they produce a minimum of soot when they burn. Also, hardwoods are denser than softer woods. They burn longer and hotter, saving money on fuel while cutting down on cleaning.
The catch is that hardwoods are pricey, especially as a fuel. Most people, prefer to burn less costly wood like pine and fir. However, it’s a toss-up whether the savings are that significant. Softwoods burn more quickly. They contain sap that accelerates the buildup of gummy creosote. If you do not have your chimney cleaned regularly, you run a higher risk of chimney fires.
Another factor that affects clean burning is the moisture in the wood. You should only burn wood that is well seasoned and as dry as possible. Green or wet firewood smokes more and thus creates more buildup in your firebox and chimney. If you have no choice but to burn partially seasoned wood, plan to clean your fireplace frequently, even after every use.
Of course, no matter what type of wood you are burning, your fireplace itself affects the amount of interior buildup. An old-fashioned, open fireplace does not burn as cleanly as an airtight fireplace insert. It does not burn fuel efficiently because it simply doesn’t burn very hot.
In fact, an open fireplace is only 10 to 15 percent efficient. Just a fraction of each log produces heating for your home. Most of the hot air from flames goes up the chimney, along with smoke, carbon dioxide and particulates, leaving buildup of soot and creosote in its wake.
In contrast, wood burning fireplace inserts are up to 85 percent efficient. They draw oxygen for combustion from outdoors into a sealed fire chamber and then circulate the warmed air into your home. This type of appliance creates a hot fire that leaves very little residue for the chimney sweep.
Fireplace Location Tips
Wood burning fireplaces need a vent or flue to get rid of toxic combustion fumes like carbon dioxide. Typically, that means they have to be along an exterior wall. Alternatively, a fireplace could vent straight up through the roof via a chimney.
In fact, a straight shot from the fireplace to the outdoors helps prevent large amounts of creosote buildup in a chimney. If you vent a wood stove through a wall, the stovepipe must make a 90-degree turn from the stovetop to the wall behind it. More creosote collects in the elbow.
It’s mainly a result of a weak draw through the damper and vent pipe to the outdoors. As a result, the fire does not burn as hot, and the wood may not burn completely. A straight chimney, in contrast, draws more strongly and promotes a hotter, cleaner-burning fire.
Other factors affect how much buildup you get in your chimney, too, such as:
- Chimney height
- Temperature difference between chimney exhaust and outside air (heat rises)
- Chimney insulation
If you don’t like cleaning your fireplace frequently or paying for extra chimney inspections, make sure to follow the recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association when locating, connecting and using your wood-burning fireplace.
How Often Do You Need Chimney Cleaning?
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, you should have a chimney inspection at least once per year. This is also mandated by the NFPA Standard 211.
It’s important that the chimney sweep you hire is a certified CSIA Chimney Sweep. This certification confirms that your sweep has the training, know-how and professional reputation to do a detailed inspection and provide safety recommendations.
Not only should the inspection cover your chimney, but also the clearances and soundness of your fireplace and flue. You should make any repairs your chimney pro recommends to keep your fireplace and your family safe.
It only takes 1/8 inch of creosote buildup on a masonry chimney to pose a significant fire risk. If you have a factory assembled fireplace/chimney, you should have any buildup cleaned away regularly. Creosote is quite acidic and can cause deterioration.
DIY Fireplace Cleaning Tips
Supplies you will need for fireplace cleanup:
- Old clothes
- Work gloves
- Drop cloth
- Fireplace shovel
- Metal ash container
- Shop vac
- Spray bottle
- TSP or other fireplace cleaner
- Stiff bristle scrub brush
- Paper towels
To clean your wood burning fireplace completely, you need to:
1. Wait 12 hours after the last fire is out and the area is completely cool
2. Dress in old clothes and protective gloves
3. Cover the hearth area and nearby furnishings with a drop cloth
4. Place the ashes from the firebox, grate and andirons in a metal container
5. Place the ash container outdoors for disposal
6. Bring the grate/andirons outside and scrub them with a cleaning solution of dishsoap and warm water.
7. Leave it outdoors to dry
8. Next, sweep the fireplace walls to remove caked-on soot and particulates
9. Remove the debris and vacuum any residual dust
10. Douse dirty surfaces with your fireplace cleaning solution of choice in a spray bottle
11. Scrub away the grime with a stiff cleaning brush
12. Sponge with warm water
13. Allow to dry completely
For cleaning metal fireplace screens, use your sponge and soapy water. If your fireplace doors are dingy, clean them with a 50-50 vinegar and water solution in a spray bottle. Wipe the fireplace glass clean, removing soot buildup. Now you’ll have a clear view of your fire.
1. For tough built-up soot on your fireplace glass, spray paper towels with glass gleaner until they are moist, and pick up some ash on them. It acts as a scratch-free abrasive to help remove soot.
2. If you have an older brick fireplace, avoid scrubbing the bricks. It could cause deterioration.
3. Trisodium phosphate, or TSP, is one of the most effective fireplace wall cleaners, but is does create toxic fumes. You might want to substitute a less caustic but still effective baking soda and warm water cleaning solution. You can use a diluted bleach solution for especially tough stains.
What About Cleaning a Gas or Propane Fireplace?
Your enclosed natural gas or propane fireplace burns cleaner than an open wood fireplace. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean it.
Although burning gas does not produce ash, a coating of dust prevents it from burning effectively. You should clean the ceramic fiber log set at least once per month. You should also wipe the gas apertures clean so that the fuel flows freely.
Similarly, propane or natural gas flames do not create creosote buildup in your fireplace or chimney. Your risk of chimney fires is minimal. However, any clogs can prevent any toxic by-product from escaping outdoors, so it is imperative that you keep it clear. That’s why an annual inspection by a chimney professional is so important.
Unexpelled heat causes condensation in your chimney, which leads to a downgrade in fireplace efficiency. Also, the water mixes with chemical emissions to form a caustic liquid that accelerates the deterioration of your chimney walls.
Potentially, a malfunctioning chimney flue or chimney cap could trap toxic exhaust inside your home too. The air you and your family breathe could quickly become unsafe.
How Often Should You Clean an Electric Fireplace?
The firebox of a quality electric fireplace requires no cleaning, ever. The most homeowners have to do is simply dust off the exterior as needed.
If the model has glass fireplace doors, you can clean them with ashes and paper towels. The dollars you’ll save on cleaning tools, supplies and time alone make this type of appliance quite cost-effective.
Benefits of a Clean Fireplace
A clean fireplace benefits your entire household. As a homeowner, you should consider fireplace cleaning a regular part of your home maintenance routine. You should also schedule a regular annual inspection with your local, certified chimney sweep.
In return, you and your family will enjoy:
- Cleaner air to breathe
- An environment free of ash and smoke
- The warmth and ambiance of a fire
- More efficient fuel consumption
- Peace of mind
What Kind of Fireplaces are Most Fuel Efficient?
Fuel efficiency and your family’s safety go hand-in-hand. A wood burning fireplace insert is more efficient than an open fireplace. Vented gas and liquid propane-burning fireplaces are significantly more fuel efficient than a wood fireplace.
A good vent-free or ventless gas fireplace comes close to 100 percent efficiency. However, many organizations raise concerns about safety.
Although ventless fireplaces burn gas at high temperatures, they are not emission-free. They produce minimal amounts of toxic by-products that stay within your living areas. Also, they must draw oxygen from inside your home for combustion. They have no outlet for the water vapor they produce, so that, too, remains indoors, raising the possibility of mold and mildew growth.
In the case of ventless fireplaces, fuel efficiency is high. Your family’s safety may be at risk, however.
Another option is an electric fireplace. It is not only the most fuel efficient, but it is also the cleanest option in home fireplaces. A well-built, quality electric fireplace converts 100 percent of the electricity it uses into heating. It does not produce any condensation or any emissions whatsoever. It is cost-effective to run.
You may wonder what the catch is. Some believe that an electric fireplace is “fake.” It does not actually burn any fuel. Instead, manufacturers use various methods for creating the look of flames. The heat comes from an electric heater hidden inside.
With so many advantages over gas and wood fireplaces, an electric fireplace seems like an excellent option for your new home or home improvement project. Builders agree. A growing number of home professionals, like your architect, home builder and interior designer, are including electric fireplaces in their home designs.
Installing a freestanding electric fireplace is an easy, DIY remodel project too. You don’t need to worry about gas connections or chimney access. An electric fireplace can go on any wall, and it plugs into a standard electrical outlet.
The global market for electric fireplaces was just over $4 billion in 2019. Analysts predict it will grow to nearly $5 billion by 2026. Global and domestic interest in arresting climate change may push this growth rate even higher.
In this active market environment, you would expect some manufacturers to address and overcome the “fake” fireplace perception. Some have been more successful than others.
The MagikFlame Story
MagikFlame is one company that set out to produce the most realistic-looking electric fireplace from the start. Founder and CEO Howard Birnbaum realized in 2015 that an electric fireplace was the cleanest, most environmentally friendly option for bringing the ambiance of a fireplace into his own home.
However, after looking at all the models that were available at the time, he agreed that they simply were not realistic enough. Fortunately, Howard had the professional background and vision to design one of his own.
His experience in pyrotechnic special effects in big-budget feature films informed his fireplace design. Rather than use smoke and mirrors to approximate the appearance of fire, Howard created a groundbreaking design that relied on the projection of actual flames onto a realistic log set.
The result was the original MagikFlame electric fireplace. Market reception was overwhelmingly positive for this new technology.
But Howard himself wasn’t completely satisfied yet. He continued to tinker. In 2020, he conceptualized and patented HoloFlame, a new technology that produced electric flames in three dimensions. It was this significant breakthrough that made MagikFlame products the most realistic electric fireplaces available anywhere.
How MagikFlame is Built
The Nashville-based MagikFlame factory represents an ideal union of handcraftsmanship and computer-assisted technology. Skilled technicians cut, powder coat and assemble every component of the MagikFlame firebox by hand. Computer-assisted CAD software and CNC laser cutting machines ensure that every cut and juncture is accurate to within one 1,000th of an inch.
After assembly, a team of senior technicians perform a painstaking, 12-point inspection on every firebox that comes off the line. Those that get the seal of approval continue on to the framing room. Each one, with the exception of the fireplace insert, receives an elegant wood surround and mantel in one of five classic designs.
For example, the Athena MagikFlame features a bright Alpine White finish. Handcrafted accents such as decorative appliques add graceful touches to the design. Fluted side posts and crown molding along the mantel complete the elegant style.
MagikFlame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide
Explore products and get answers to your questions with the MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide. This complete how-to for selecting the right fireplace for your household includes comparisons with all of the other major manufacturers. Review photos for some great home decor ideas and interior design cues too.
You’ll also find a rundown of the MagikFlame models, dimensions and details to help you make an informed purchase decision. Standard features like a remote smartphone app, 30 different flame styles and crackling fire sounds set MagikFlame head and shoulders above the competition.
MagikFlame reviews are also available for your information. Savvy shoppers rarely make decisions without finding out what actual owners are saying about a product. Gain insight into MagikFlame from the perspective of those who have installed one in their home.
MagikFlame listens to what customers are saying too. For example, the company offers quick-decision payment plans and financing. You can apply instantly during the purchase process and find out if you qualify for low monthly payments. MagikFlame fireplaces provide the ambiance of real flames, crackling logs and glowing embers. You can enjoy them year-round with or without infrared heat. The best part? You can put away your gloves, solvent and scrub brushes because you will never have to scrub off the soot again.