Home Home Improvement How to Clean a Chimney and Fireplace

How to Clean a Chimney and Fireplace

how to clean your chimney and fireplace

Ensuring a safe fire in the house is very important. Should a dirty chimney cause fire, it tends to spread wide and fast, with the only solution being to call the fire department, or it can build smoke within the house if it doesn’t cause an accidental fire.

Roaring inferno, Rumbling like a train, Black, oily material raining down are some phrases used to describe horrible experiences with chimney fires which are caused by the amassing or gathering of creosote, soot, and organic matter such as bird’s nests and pine cones in the chimney flue.

don't let your chimney cause fire

The flue being the masonry or metal duct that extends from the fireplace up to the top of the chimney. Also, Creosote and soot are caused by wood fires.

What is the Best Time to Clean Chimney

Also, Chimney sweeping companies typically recommend that you clean your chimney annually in the late summer or early fall before you have started any fires for the year. Some other indicators to tell when you have to clean your chimney are:

  • Soot and creosote sometimes fall into the fireplace.
  • Thick and puffy or honeycombed creosote is present inside the flue.
  • Smoke accumulates in the house when you have a fire.
  • You frequently burn artificial logs.

Clean your Chimney Like a Pro

Due to the lack of appropriate tools or no experience of working on the roof, it isn’t advisable to do it yourself. However, below are ways to go about it when you decide to do the work of cleaning the chimney yourself instead of hiring a chimney cleaning service.

Step 1: Spread out a plastic tarp or painter’s drop cloth to protect the floor surrounding your fireplace. Remove ash and stray bits of wood from the firebox and open the damper once it’s free of loose debris. Importantly, insulate the chimney from the rest of your living room; using thick plastic sheeting and quality tape, seal the front of the fire completely, without any gaps.

Step 2: A set of goggles that form a dependable seal around the eyes is needed, or you may be risking a trip to the doctor, along with a quality dust mask, a few different types of chimney brushes, and a sturdy ladder that can get you on the roof.

clean your fireplace regularly

Step 3: Remove any object covering the top of the chimney, then with the largest-diameter chimney brush, brush from the top-down, working your way toward the smoke shelf—the flat area located in the “crook” behind the damper. Take your time cleaning the flue, replace the object you removed and adequately secure all fasteners. Then, safely climb down the ladder.

Step 4: Wait for the dust you’ve upset to settle into the firebox. Then peel apart a small opening in the taped seal you positioned over the firebox, using a smaller-diameter chimney brush, reach through the opening and scrub as far up into the chimney as the brush can reach. Cover up the fireplace again, and let any additional dust fall onto the floor of the firebox.

Step 5: Slowly peel back the plastic sheeting. Also, be very careful once you’re back on solid ground, as stirring up soot would mean having to deal with a mess more massive than the one already awaiting you. Also ensure that no one opens any exterior doors, which would allow a sudden draft to send dust and ashes all over your living room carpet and furniture because the simple act would affect the purpose of having so painstakingly confined the dirt and debris behind a plastic membrane. Move the sheeting carefully out of the way, then use a shop vacuum to clear the firebox.

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