The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that fireplaces, chimneys, and vents should be inspected and cleaned at least yearly for optimum safety and efficiency. So if you’re not sure when your chimney was last swept, it’s probably been too long.
Cleaning your fireplace might seem a little overwhelming–a chore best handled by professionals–but it’s actually simpler than you might think. Take a look at these steps and save your money for something more exciting than a routine chimney sweep.
1. Use the right type of wood
The best way to start keeping your fireplace clean is by only burning the proper type of wood in it: seasoned firewood that has been correctly stored. Using anything else can lead to an excessive buildup of creosote, a common wood preservative often used in treated lumber, and it’s is more than just dirty–it’s dangerous. These buildups can cause chimney fires, and creosote fumes are toxic.
2. Prepare the room
Before you get to work, dig up some old sheets to use as covers for your floors and nearby furniture. Dress in old clothes, use gloves and knee pads, and keep a lined trash can handy so you don’t have to carry messy fireplace debris across the house.
3. Remove the debris
You can start with the firebox, which is where the logs burn. During the winter when your fireplace is actually in use, it should be cleaned out once a week. Shovel out the loose ashes and dispose of them, then line the firebox with newspapers to catch the debris as you move to work on the flue.
Loosen the soot and any creosote with a wire brush, and scrub stained bricks with a solution of baking soda and warm water.
For further tips or expertise on fireplace maintenance, contact Aqua Rec’s.