Knowing how to clean your chimney properly not only creates a safer environment but saves you time and money. Dirty chimneys can lead to chimney fires. Understanding how to do the chimney cleaning is not that difficult. With the right tools, you can take the shortest time possible to do a chimney cleaning and curb the chances of a chimney fire.
If you frequently light fires in your home then creosote buildup is a major concern to you. Creosote is a common cause of chimney fires for every homeowner that uses fireplaces that use wood.
Chimney cleaning remains a very important exercise despite precautionary measures like the use of dry wood so as to avoid creosote buildup. Chimney inspection and cleanup should be done annually. However, this also depends on how frequently you use your chimney. Even if you only use it in the winter, finding a professional to do the chimney cleaning is recommended. A chimney cleaning should be undertaken before the burning season begins.
Take caution not to attempt a chimney cleaning with an active fire. The fire must have died and the chimney must be cold before you start the chimney cleaning. It also advisable to wear protective wear such as a dust mask and goggles while cleaning a chimney.
Why Do You Need a Chimney Cleaning?
Cleaning your chimney helps remove creosote buildup accumulated inside of the chimney walls. Creosote forms in three different stages. In the first stage, it is just either flake-like substance or dust and cleans up easily. The second type is black and although also comes off easily when scrubbed using a brush. Usually, there is a relatively large buildup. The third kind is shiny tar-like and extremely difficult to remove.
If your chimney has the third type, then contact a professional chimney sweep for chimney cleaning services. A chimney sweep will inspect all the chimney components to look for cracks in the chimney liner or damage on the flue, chimney crown, or chimney damper.
If you are a home buyer or seller, a good and professional chimney cleaning is important. As a seller, good selling credentials demand that you ensure a chimney inspection. This gives you time to schedule any repairs that might arise. Even as a buyer, knowing the chimney is clean and inspected gives you the buying confidence and peace of mind.
How to Clean Your Own Chimney
Top-Down Chimney Cleaning
Is the most popular way of chimney cleaning. This is because it is quick and easy. However, it involves climbing up on your roof which might not be ideal for those who are afraid of heights. The top-down cleaning method is the cleanest way since it allows you to seal off the interior of your fireplace.
Use a plastic sheet or newspaper to cover the opening of your fireplace so as to prevent from settling on items inside your home. Take the brush and rods and climb on the roof. If you have a chimney cap, remove it by unscrewing. Attach the rod to the brush and in a downward motion, sweep the inside of the chimney. Take caution not to turn the rod anticlockwise because this might accidentally unscrew the rod from the brush. Attach additional rods as you thoroughly scrub down the entire chimney. You can use a spotlight to check on areas that still need scrubbing. When there is no buildup of soot or creosote, reinstall the chimney cap. As it can be hard to remove soot and creosote when doing a chimney cleaning on your own, we recommend a professional chimney sweep if you think you can’t get rid of it, since it the buildup of those two substances can be dangerous.
Afterwards, climb down, go back inside and remove the covers you had placed around the fireplace and at the entrance. Clean the damper using a smaller brush. Use a vacuum to clean up the debris that has fallen during the chimney cleaning. If the vacuum has a bag, dispose of it after use. In the case of a wood stove, clean out the top of the wood stove and reattach the pipe.
Bottom-Up Chimney Cleaning
This is very similar to the top-bottom cleaning method above. The only difference is that you do not have to climb on top of your roof. You won’t be able to seal off the inside of your home, so it could spread soot or ashes. To decrease the chances of ruining your furniture, cover nearby items with tarps or sheets.
Attach the brush to the rod and push it up into the flue from the base of your fireplace. Scrub back and forth as you clean up the flue and add additional rods as you move up the chimney. After cleaning the flue, remove the brush and use a bright spotlight to inspect the chimney. Once satisfied, collect the debris that fell as you were cleaning. As much as it spares you having to climb up the roof, it’s dirtier and somewhat more difficult to clean the flue from the bottom up.
A Professional Chimney Cleaning
Both cleaning top to bottom and vice versa can be hard, exhausting, and not enough to ensure you’ve removed every bit of soot and creosote. Fill out the form below today to ensure your and your family’s safety by hiring a professional chimney cleaning company.