Chimney and fireplace maintenance is instrumental in keeping your home safe and warm in the fall as well as the colder months ahead. Following standard chimney cleaning procedures is the first step to maintaining your fireplace. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind this fall when cleaning your chimney and fireplace.
Inspect Your Chimney
Animals such as bees, birds, bats and other various species make their homes in unused chimneys during the warmer months. Before diving into the cleaning process, check to make sure no nest or critter has taken up residence.
Prepare Your Home for the Cleaning Process
Chimney and fireplace cleaning can be extremely messy work. Be sure to place drop cloths, towels or old sheets along the floor of the room starting at the mouth of the fireplace to catch any soot or debris that may fall during the cleaning process.
Use Proper Equipment
In addition to drop cloths to protect your flooring, you will need to ensure that you have all the proper tools needed to clean your chimney. The size and strength of equipment needed will vary based on the height and size of your chimney. However, safety gear such as a face mask and goggles, should always be worn to keep soot and creosote at bay. You’ll also need:
- Wet/dry vacuum and a
- Wire chimney-sweeping brush.
When purchasing your brushes, make sure you measure the flue tiles and obtain a brush roughly the same size. You might also want to buy a flat wire brush if your chimney appears to be excessively dirty.
You will need a ladder and possibly a safety harness depending on how many stories your chimney extends as well as the slope and terrain of your roof. If your roof is slippery or extremely slanted, secure yourself to the roof with the harness and a rope to safeguard against any would-be accidents.
Clean from the Top Down
When you begin the cleaning process, start from the top and work your way down. Working in square feet sections will ensure that no spot will go untouched and the entire chimney is cleaned efficiently.
While cleaning your chimney, take note of any tree branches that may be hanging near the chimney mouth. These will need to be trimmed back as they may fall and cause damage to your chimney.
Hire a Professional
The Do-It-Yourself method is not for everyone. If you suspect that the brick of your chimney may be cracking or deteriorating, hiring a professional chimney sweep can set your mind at ease before the cold weather sets in.
- When it comes to fall chimney maintenance, remember to install and maintain smoke detectors inside and outside of bedrooms. Replace batteries as each season approaches, and make sure to test your detectors regularly.
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