Fireplaces, fire pits and brick ovens allow homeowners to extend their outdoor season by providing a warm place to gather during the colder months. To keep your outdoor fire features functioning properly through the winter season, follow these simple tips from our experts.
• Install glass or stainless doors on fireplaces and use stainless covers for fire pits to protect these fire features from accumulating snow and ice. Joe Raboine, President of Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc., explains that slowly building a fire to dry out a fireplace or fire pit that has already accumulated snow and ice reduces the risk of cracking the refractory cement or firebrick.
• If using ceramic gas log sets, it is critical to wrap those (if you don’t have a cover) with a tarp in the winter as these logs can deteriorate with excessive ice buildup – and are difficult if not impossible to light if the orifices are plugged with ice.
• Sweeping the flue once a year is recommended and is an easy do-it-yourself project.
• If the outdoor temperature is cold or below freezing, take extra time to slowly heat your oven. You do not want to “shock” your oven by taking it from freezing to 600° F in a matter of minutes. Bill Paschen of Chicago Brick Oven recommends that the fire be built-up over at least one hour. Start with a small fire and carefully add more firewood to gradually bring up the temperature.
Stay tuned to our blog for more seasonal tips for making the most of your outdoor living space!