The truth is, there is no absolute rule when it comes to chimney cleaning. The sweeping process often depends on how often you use your fireplace and the kind of fireplace you have. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys, fireplaces and vents are inspected and cleaned at least once per year.
For instance, if you use wood and the wood is not burnt completely, creosote will form. Creosote is created when fire burning from wet or green wood without enough oxygen releases lots of tar vapor that is not burned. This makes a chimney cleaning vital to your household’s safety. The thick tar vapor then condenses inside the fireplace flue and sticks to it. If left to build up for some time, it becomes dangerous and can lead to chimneys fire. Creosote buildup can be reduced by doing a chimney cleaning, including cleaning the flue which in turn ensures enough oxygen. The oxygen aids a clean and properly burning fire.
When Are You Supposed To Do a Chimney Cleaning?
If you wish to DIY creosote buildup, you need first to ensure there is no downdraft from the chimney. In case of airflow, ensure aeration by opening a window or door that is on the same floor as the fireplace until air begins to flow once again up. Wear goggles, a dust mask and with the help of a bright spotlight, take a fireplace poker and scratch the smoke chamber. If the creosote is thin then an immediate cleaning might not be necessary. If it is thick, make an appointment for a chimney cleaning soon, but if it’s really thick then you need an immediate chimney cleaning. If you do not, then you are at risk of a chimney fire that might start any minute.
If you have an exterior chimney, be sure to check the fireplace flue too since creosote builds faster on the exterior than on interior due to lower outside temperatures.
There are three types of creosotes. The first type is light and can either be dull grey, black or brown. It is the easiest to remove. The other type forms like a granular and is black. It’s relatively easy to remove with the use of a stiff chimney brush. The last type is usually dangerous, shiny coating and it’s quite tricky to remove.
Important Tips For a Chimney Cleaning
Have your chimney inspected and swept in the spring as this will save you money and time. It is essential that you have the necessary tools if you intend to DIY. Be sure to have the following:
- A dust mask
- A flashlight
- Safety glasses
Chemicals for a Chimney Cleaning
Wood-burning fireplaces are warm, cozy and attractive, but they require proper maintenance, or the consequences could be quite severe. One of the significant hazards of a wood-burning stove or fireplace is the development of creosote, a chemical that can build up on the inside of chimneys and flues. Regular chimney cleaning and inspection, preferably by a professional, will prevent buildup, but you can avoid buildup yourself, as well, using chemicals that protect your fireplace from dangerous buildup and help you keep your home safe and clean.
You might know it as table salt. This makes it easy to find, all you need to do is throw a few pints of salt in the fire while it is burning. The salt and water inside the burning wood will break down to form a weak acid that will then travel up the chimney and dissolve the creosote. However, this will depend on the width of the buildup. Do not use this method if you have a metal chimney as the acidity can cause corrosion. It is also a chimney cleaning method that requires caution.
Copper sulphate is a key ingredient when you are shopping for a commercial chimney cleaning product. This is because copper sulphate interacts with the soot or creosote inside the chimney making it burn away at a very low temperature. But just like salt, it reacts with water to form a strong acid known as sulfuric acid and so should be used with caution. Be sure to read instructions before using any chimney cleaning chemical.
Chemicals help you do a chimney cleaning and prevent creosote but still, the most effective way of a chimney cleaning is to scrub off the buildup of soot and creosote manually. While chemicals need extra caution and can damage chimney if overused when scrubbing you need the right brush and a little technique.
For a thorough job, call us today for a professional chimney cleaning. Our chimney sweeps are trained to recognize venting problems, deterioration and can advise you regarding the chimney’s condition.