Fireplace Spring-Cleaning Checklist
The bright, mesmerizing flames and crackling wood in the fireplace make us feel warm and comfortable on those cold, dreary days. But behind those picturesque flames are several unwanted contaminants including smoke, soot, and creosote. While much of the fumes vent through the chimney, some of it clings to the liner and walls inside the flue. Regularly cleaning the chimney is necessary to increase fireplace efficiency and reduce the risks of fires from creosote buildup.
Start with a Cool Fireplace
Before you start the actual cleaning task, make sure that your fireplace is completely cool. After extinguishing the fire, wait at least 12 hours for it to cool down.
Have the Right Tools
Chimney cleaning is an important job, and you need to have the right tools. You will need:
- metal bucket
- ash shovel
- long brush
- wire brush
- commercial cleaner
Also, you need to wear protective equipment such as gloves, a filtered mask, and goggles. Cleaning a fireplace is a messy job that produces a lot of dust and ash. So, you may also want to wear overalls or old clothes as well.
The fireplace is cool to the touch, and you have all the tools needed; now comes the actual task of fireplace cleaning. If there is excess ash inside the fireplace, use the ash shovel to scoop it into the metal bucket. Once you’ve scooped out all the ash, use a wire brush to scrub off any soot, and creosote stuck on the fireplace walls. Creosote is a flammable substance and is the leading cause of chimney fires. Be sure to scrub off the brown, tarry creosote thoroughly. You can also purchase a creosote cleaner from your local hearth products store.
Damper and Flue Pipe
Use a wire brush to scrub off any soot and creosote on the damper. Then take a long brush and scrub inside the flue pipe. You may need to clean vigorously to remove excess soot and creosote deposits.
The debris you scrubbed from the walls, the damper, and the flue pipe will fall into the firebox. Scoop them using the ash shovel and put them into the metal bucket. You can then use a cleaning solution to wipe off any remaining soot on the fireplace walls. Vacuum any remaining particles.
Inspect for Obstructions
While cleaning the fireplace, check to see if there are any obstructions limiting air flow into the fireplace. You will need to use a ladder to climb to the top of the chimney. Clear any leaves, twigs, pests or nests that are blocking the flue. Maintaining a constant air flow is vital because it provides much-needed oxygen for the fire. Airflow restrictions also prevent carbon monoxide and other fumes from venting. This can cause dangerous levels to mix with the air inside your home.
Check for Any Damages
While you’re cleaning and scrubbing, look for any damages to the brick or masonry. Cracks, no matter how small they are, should be sealed before they can grow into more significant, costlier problems.
Annual Chimney Inspection
The Chimney Safety Institute (CSIA) and national fire safety experts highly encourage all homeowners to have an annual chimney inspection by a chimney professional, like Chimney Saver Solutions.
These are just some of the tips you need to keep in mind while cleaning your fireplace. A clean fireplace burns efficiently, and safely. If you don’t have the time to clean or the skills to do it effectively, hire a qualified chimney sweep.
Call Chimney Saver Solutions to schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning today. Our certified chimney sweep will inspect your fireplace, clean the chimney, and take care of any repairs to ensure your heating appliance is safe for use.