Everything You Need to Know about Chimney Cleaning
You’re excited to finally use your fireplace during your next cold snap. And for good reason. Fireplaces are a convenient way to warm up your home and add a decorative touch, and today’s newest fireplace technology is particularly making gas fireplaces more energy efficient.
The question is, when last have you done a chimney cleaning? Here’s a rundown on how often to clean a chimney and how to clean a chimney before you use it next.
Let’s jump in!
How to Know if Your Chimney Needs Cleaning
You’ll know that you need a chimney cleaning if you’re smelling smoke throughout your house following a fire. In addition, you need to clean your fireplace if the fireplace surround has started to turn a black colour.
How Often to Clean a Chimney
You should clean your gas fireplace or oil fireplace once per year at least. The same is true if you use smokeless fuel in your fireplace.
However, a chimney cleaning should occur once a quarter if you regularly burn coal or wood in your home’s fireplace.
When Is the Best Time to Clean Your Chimney?
You should ideally clean your chimney right before the cold winter months. After all, this is most likely when you will be using your fireplace.
Also, if you have recently moved into a new home with a fireplace and you’re not sure about the time of its last cleaning, you should go ahead and clean it.
How to Clean a Chimney
Several steps are required to properly clean your chimney and therefore prevent potentially dangerous creosote fires. Let’s take a look at these steps.
Inspect Your Chimney
You’ll first want to look at your chimney’s flue. This is the vertical duct or passage that goes from your firebox — the area where your fire burns — to your chimney’s top area.
You can use a flashlight to look at the flue from your chimney’s bottom area or through its cleanout.
However, you’ll get a better picture of the chimney’s condition by viewing the flue from above on your roof. If you see creosote, your chimney is due for a cleaning. Creosote is a dark brown material that forms as a result of wood combustion.
Measure the Chimney Flue
You’ll need to measure the chimney flue before you begin cleaning the chimney. Specifically, measure its length and width.
This will help you to determine the right brush size to buy to clean the flue.
Buy Chimney Cleaning Supplies
To start the chimney cleaning process, you’ll first need to purchase the right supplies. Choose a brush that is shaped and sized to fit the flue. In addition, choose a quality metal brush if you have a masonry flue, and use a durable poly brush for a stainless steel flue.
Also, purchase extension rods that will run your flue’s length. Rods are available in six-, five-, and four-foot lengths.
Dress for the Job
Before you begin your chimney cleaning project, be sure to put on a quality face mask and safety glasses.
This safety will protect you from any falling residue.
Prepare Your Home
You’ll also want to put away any knickknacks in your home that you don’t want to become dirty during your chimney cleaning.
In addition, cover your furniture and carpeting with traps to protect them from dirt.
Remove the Damper
When you’re ready to begin the chimney cleaning, you’ll need to first remove the chimney’s damper — or its interior lid.
This door or flap is used to regulate airflow when you’re trying to build and maintain a fire.
Clean the Chimney from the Top Down
You can clean your flue from your roof after first removing your chimney’s animal guard or rain cap. Simply reach into your chimney with a sturdy wire brush. Then, scrub your flue’s inner walls by moving the brush up and then down. Afterwards, reattach your animal guard or rain cap carefully.
Clean the Chimney from the Top Up
If you are not comfortable with heights, you can do your chimney cleaning from the ground.
All you need to do is reach into your fireplace and go up into your chimney’s flue with your wire brush. Then, do your scrubbing. Be sure to extend the brush with your chimney rod until you’ve reached the chimney’s top.
Clean the Flue’s Entrance
Be sure to carefully brush off the entrance to your chimney flue as well. Use a flashlight to double-check each section of the entrance before moving on to the next step: cleaning the firebox.
Clean the Fireplace (Can You Vacuum Out a Fireplace?)
The next step in cleaning your fireplace involves removing ashes from your firebox with a shovel. Then, use a brush with stiff bristles to scrub your fireplace’s inside walls. This will help you to remove any dirt or soot build-up.
You can vacuum any dirt or ashes remaining after you’ve done the shovelling step first.
Do Chimney Cleaning Logs Work?
You can also use cleaning logs to help you to clean your chimney. They can be a quick solution for dealing with the buildup of creosote.
Creosote develops in three buildup stages. The logs can assist you in the first of these stages. After that, a professional will need to clean your chimney.
What to Do with Your Leftover Wood Ash
After you have shovelled out ash from your fireplace, you may be wondering where to toss it. Don’t throw it away. Instead, you can save it to use around the house and garden.
Here are a couple of popular uses for wood ash.
Use It As a Fertilizer
Feel free to use wood ash as a fertilizer for your outdoor plants. This material is a great source of potassium and lime for plants.
You can lightly scatter the ash over your garden soil. Alternatively, mix some into your compost. Make sure that it takes up just 5% of the compost.
Use It for Cleaning
You can also use ash for cleaning. Simply mix the ash with water to create a paste for cleaning dirty glass or tarnished metals.
Why Should You Call a Professional?
You should hire a professional chimney cleaning service provider because they’ll do more than just clean your chimney. They’ll also identify hidden issues that you may miss on your own.
Chimney cleaning experts can additionally help with removing any pests or hazardous obstructions in your chimney.
How Much Does It Cost to Clean the Fireplace?
Chimney sweeps may cost between $129 and $378. The average is around $252.
How Long Does a Chimney Sweep Take?
The sweep should take 30-60 minutes. However, the job may take two hours if your chimney is especially dirty or features blockages that require removing.
Chimney Cleaning: The Takeaway
If you’re not sure when last your chimney was cleaned, you’re likely due for a chimney cleaning. If you’re wondering how often to clean a chimney, note that you should do this once per year at a minimum.
Also, if you’re not sure how to clean a chimney, note that you can use a brush to clean your chimney from either the top or bottom.
Fortunately, at Burning Log, we offer a wide range of top-tier fireplace products that are easy to maintain and can increase your home’s value. Contact us to learn more about our products, and shop now!