A proper fireplace is a joy to have in the home, however doing regular maintenance is not something that everyone does. Taking care of the chimney flue will ensure hassle-free use of one’s fireplace. One of the most important aspects of maintenance is chimney flue cleaning.
What is the Chimney Flue ?
This part of the fireplace is a piece of tubing that leads up the chimney to provide a safe passage of smoke, gasses and other residue out of the home; in other words a pipe inside of the chimney. The flue forms an airway into and out of the fireplace. This is where the damper, often confused with the flue comes into play.
The damper is a mechanism that controls the flow of air through the flue and is used whether you have a blazing fire going or not. The damper is usually opened up when making a fire to prevent the smoke from pushing into the living room, on the other hand the damper would typically be closed at other times to prevent cold air and outside elements from entering the fireplace.
Keeping the chimney flue clean is not only a requirement for ease of use but a very important safety consideration.
Why is Chimney Flue Cleaning Necessary
Regular cleaning of the chimney flue is very important for the well-being of the home and those who live there . Unfortunately there is no specific requirement or rule relating to chimney flue cleaning intervals as there are many different factors that can have an effect on the cleaning frequency required.
One of the reasons why chimney flue cleaning is necessary is because of a build up of creosote on the walls of the chimney flue. Using the fireplace can be a messy process at times and none more so than the smoke and residue that is given off by the fire. Burning wood would usually give off different kinds of contaminants that accumulate on the inside of the chimney flue.
The most common residue is known as creosote. This substance is formed as a result of incomplete combustion, use of green or unseasoned wood and when wood is only partially burned. One can minimise creosote buildup by allowing enough air into the fireplace during use to provide ample combustion.
Excessive build up of creosote combined with irregular chimney flue cleaning can become a fire hazard. As if this is not enough exposure to this toxic residue can lead to irritated skin and eyes and even cancer in the long run.
How to clean the chimney flue
One should take care when attempting to this yourself to prevent any health hazards, damage to the flue or even damage to your home. Once the amount of creosote build-up has been established you can decide on the best way of cleaning the chimney flue.
It is advisable to apply suitable liquid, powder or spray to break down the creosote; these kind of applications are typically available from the local hardware store. A chimney brush can then be used to sweep up resulting ash. Other alternatives could be to use a steel brush to clean off stubborn dirt or even a scraper of some sort. Using these kind of devices should be done with care to avoid damaging the chimney flue.
Taking good care of the chimney flue will help to keep your chimney in good shape and add to the value of the home. Homeowners who choose to do this by themselves should do so with care. Why not make an appointment with All Star Chimney Sweep below to provide world class maintenance of your fireplace.