Our Company Blog

Firebox Replacement

While it is built to withstand extreme temperatures and keep the rest of your home protected against the flames of a fire, the firebox may be one of the most delicate chimney components. If damaged, the firebox cannot effectively protect the surrounding building materials from the heat, smoke, flames, and gasses produced when the fireplace is in use; because of this, it is extremely important to have the firebox repaired or replaced if it becomes damaged.

What causes firebox damage?

Great Home Fire burning in the fireplace. Seasonal and holiday fire

Firebox Replacement – Seattle WA – Pristine Sweeps

Fireboxes can withstand prolonged, direct heat from flames – but this does not make them impervious to damage. The following are three of the most common causes of damage to fireboxes.

  • Water entry: Withstand heat and withstanding water are two different things; exposure to even small amounts of water can be dangerous to the refractory masonry of a firebox. Chimney leaks or attempting to use water to extinguish a fire can all cause water damage to a firebox.
  • Settling: All homes settle as they age; the footing that your fireplace was built on affects how well a fireplace will settle. Without a properly constructed base, the fireplace and chimney can shift and crack as a home settles. Large cracks in the firebox are commonly caused by settling due to improper fireplace footings. Outside, settling can also cause a chimney to shift or lilt.
  •  Incorrect construction: If a firebox is not built correctly using the right materials, it can quickly deteriorate and need to be replaced. Good fireboxes should always be built by masons – not contractors – using high quality refractory bricks and mortar. Cutting corners during construction may save money, but it can lead to fireplace performance problems and safety issues in the future.

Replacing a damaged firebox

If your firebox is damaged but the rest of your chimney system is in good condition, there is no reason to stop using your fireplace forever. Instead, firebox replacement can help you get the most out of your fireplace – without the cost of tearing down and rebuilding the entire chimney system.

Instead of taking out the damaged firebox and building a new one, a fireplace insert is often the best replacement. Inserts are easy to use and efficient heating appliances; available in a number of sizes and styles – as well as with several different fuel sources – there is the perfect insert for every family. Inserts can also be easily installed into an existing firebox, even if it is damaged. Because of the existing venting and chimney system, no additional construction may be necessary when professional installed.

Manufactured fireplaces can also be repaired or replaced. If the damage is localized to one part of the firebox, new refractory panels can be installed. Doing this can help extend the life of a manufactured fireplace when the rest of the unit is still functioning and burning safely.

If your firebox is damaged, your fireplace doesn’t have to be shut down for good. Instead, have your firebox replaced and go back to enjoying your fireplace again. For more information on firebox replacement, contact Pristine Sweeps today!

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Storing Wood For The Spring And Summer So It’s Ready For The Fall

During the warm months of spring and summer, firewood is probably the last thing on your mind. However, how your store your firewood during the “off season” can have a big impact on whether or not it will be ready to burn in the fall.

Storing Wood for spring and summer so its ready for fall - Seattle WA - Pristine Sweeps

Tips for storing firewood in the spring and summer

The following five storage tips will make sure all of your firewood is ready for the fall.

  • Store it outside: Small amounts of firewood should only be brought inside immediately before use. This means that during the spring and summer all wood should be kept outside. Keeping wood outside during warm weather helps any residual moisture in the wood evaporate, leaving you with highly seasoned firewood in the fall. Likewise, storing wood inside can give dormant insects in the wood access to your home.
  • Find the right location: To avoid moving your woodpile twice a year, place wood in an area that is both out of the way for the summer and convenient for the winter. The ideal wood storage location is close enough to the house to walk to during cold weather, but not so close that the wood presents a fire hazard to the home.
  •  Elevate the wood: Even during the summer, wood should never be stacked directly on the ground. Stacking wood on the ground can allow groundwater from rain to soak up and into the wood. Likewise, on the ground a woodpile is more likely to become home to vermin such as snakes, mice, and insects; when elevated, these unwelcome guests are less likely to get into the wood stack.
  • Cover the pile: April showers can also affect your woodpile. Keep the top of the pile covered to prevent water from over saturating or soaking into the wood. However, the sides of the wood stack should always be left open. Doing this allows air to freely flow through the pile, furthering the seasoning process and helping any rain water in the pile to evaporate.
  •  Stack wood for airflow: Wood should be uniformly stacked in order to maximize airflow through the pile. Likewise, the woodpile should be placed in an area where it will have access to air circulation; garages, sheds, and other enclosed spaces block this type of air circulation.

Buying the right firewood

How you store your wood is important, but the kind of wood you buy can have an equally big impact on the quality of your fires this winter. While many homeowners prefer to buy wood that has already been seasoned, buying firewood in the spring allows it to season – or have the moisture removed by an exposure to sunlight, wind, and air – during the spring and summer and be ready to burn by fall.

You may not use your fireplace during the spring and summer, but how you store your firewood during these months can have an impact on the quality of your wood in the fall. If you have questions about the right way to store your firewood so it’s ready for the fall, contact Pristine Sweeps today.

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment