As winter fast approaches or may already be here, wood-burning fireplaces must be cleaned to ensure there will be no issues with carbon poisoning. Pay special attention to that because without regular cleaning your chimney will be at higher risk of keeping much of the dangerous buildup produced while burning firewood or coal. Clean your fireplace not only to make it look good but also to ensure it is safe and doesn’t have any buildup.
Begin the chimney check up by looking for leaks. Start a fire in the fireplace as usual and once it is burning throw in some smoke-causing fuel that would allow you to track for possible leaks. Once the smoke goes in the chimney, pay attention and mark the leaks if you can spot any. Repair by using chimney patch and make sure it is safe to proceed to the next step.
• Check if the chimney needs to be cleaned. This must be done at least once a year, even more often depending on how frequently the fireplace is used. Take a flashlight and inspect the inside of the chimney flute, use a sharp object to scrape off some of the accumulated creosote inside. If the buildup is about 1/8 inch thick or more you should consider cleaning it before it becomes worse. Most people do chimney cleaning in the autumn, however if you’re experiencing problems and did not clean the chimney you can do so even in winter. Never underestimate the problem as you may set your home on fire.
• Before using your fireplace for the first time this season, check the inside of the chimney for pests and animals. There are a number of animals that may find a way to live in there, such as squirrels, raccoons and birds, especially once the winter months arrive and snow covers the landscape. Take the steps necessary to remove any wildlife from the chimney chute and prepare for the next step.
• Measure the chimney flue before you start cleaning. You will need the proper sized tools to get the job done. Measure the sides of the chimney at both bottom and top as well as the length. Once you determine the shape and size of the flue as well as the length find the right rope, piping and tools to clean the entire chimney.
• Prepare your home for the cleaning by covering with tarp the entire fireplace area. Make sure it extends well into the room so you won’t have any floor uncovered. Cover your furniture as well to protect from falling debris that spread out.
Hire a Professional
A better option is to hire a chimney sweep company to inspect and clean your fireplace. They arrive with the right cleaning supplies, tarps, and brushes designed to efficiently remove soot, ash, and creosote from any fireplace.