The upkeep of a Rumford fireplace is simplified in some ways by its design, since the firebox is not as deep, the drafting is more efficient, and there are fewer emissions. On the other hand, it presents some ‘regulatory challenges’ that you have to keep up with to maintain your safety. Both sides of the equation are different for Rumford-style fireplace inserts and built-on-site Rumford fireplaces.
In the first case, it involves the same inspections, regular professional cleanings, and homeowner maintenance that all pre-fabricated fireplaces need. If you have installed it, that means to us you had Level 2 inspections of your fireplace system by a certified chimney sweep. You may have also had a ‘Level 2 inspection’ by the city, for any number of reasons.
It could be simply because you substantially altered the system or because you are buying the home. It could be because the “Rumfordizing” is bringing you into compliance with local emissions standards. Whatever the case, the city inspector performs a Level 1 inspection and relies on the certified chimney sweep’s report for the Level 2 compliance.
So, in the first place, we are assuming that your Rumfordized fireplace was properly installed in a system visually found to be in good condition. Next, the annual cleaning and inspection of your fireplace and its venting is the NFPA’s recommendation. It is as much a part of being a responsible homeowner as keeping your gutters in good repair and your yard free of “liabilities”…
Assuming, then, that your Rumford fireplace gets the annual attention it needs from certified sweeps for fireplace safety, you should be in a great position for the simplified maintenance you need to do! There should be less soot to gently brush off and a firebox easy to reach and see in its entirety. That makes it easier for you to spot the need to call a certified sweep – even if it is not time for that annual inspection.