Brrrrr…it is starting to get cold again. It is time to turn on the heater to warm up the house. A crackling fire would be really nice to keep you warm and toasty as the cold days will only get colder each day.
A fireplace will , more than likely, get used almost everyday especially in places where it snows. As soot and dirt build up after every use, a homeowner would have to be concerned about keeping the chimney clean so that it can be used year after year during the winter season. Furthermore, a dirty chimney can cause fires if not addressed properly.
Here are some suggestions on how you can keep your chimney clean:
How to Keep Your Chimney Clean: Chimney Cap
One of the ways to keep a chimney clean is to make sure that the chimney top has a cap. Oftentimes, debris from the outside, like falling leaves from trees, can enter the chimney causing blockage or even fire. Having a cap can prevent small rodents from entering your house through the chimney.
A chimney without a cap can also sometimes become a nesting place for birds. During warmer months, birds would build their nests on the exposed chimney top. As birds migrate, they will leave their nests behind which can cause smoke to get trapped inside the house, which can cause poor air quality.
So the first order of business in keeping a chimney clean is to cover it with a cap.
How to Keep Your Chimney Clean: Clean Chimney Regularly
After the winter months, it would be a good idea to clean your chimney from the top.
There are steel brushes with long rods that you can buy from home improvement stores. You can start by removing the chimney cap then inserting the steel brush and in a circulating motion push in downward motion then circulating back up to loosen and push the debris.
You can clean the damper and the chimney flue using the chimney brush.
Once you are done with the top portion, and you have loosened up and pushed most of the dirt down the fireplace hearth, it is then time to clean the lower portion.
Keep in mind to use the necessary safety precautions when you are climbing up and down the ladder to and walking on your rooftop. Also use eye goggles and safety gloves to prevent injury.
If you would rather not clean the chimney yourself, you can hire chimney sweeps to do the “dirty” work for you.
How to Keep Your Chimney Clean: Clean Fireplace
Clean your fireplace after each use to prevent the dusts and ashes from getting blown upward with air thereby depositing to the chimney overtime. Use a vacuum cleaner to or hand broom and dustpan to remove the cold ashes and creosote from the fireplace and the damper.
How to Keep Your Chimney Clean: Choose Burning Materials Properly
Sometimes the amount of soot or ashes that get deposited on your chimney would also depend on what materials you are burning in your fireplace. If you use branches with dried leaves picked from the yard, chances are there would be more debris to float up into the air that can go up the chimney. If you use commercially treated fire logs, the burning time is longer with less debris. Commercially prepared ones also would mean less use of fire starters, like paper and sticks, which can add to the materials that would turn into ashes that can be deposited on your chimney.
How to Keep Your Chimney Clean: Use Gas Logs
In newly built homes builders have used gas logs. They are made of stone materials and heat up like real logs. The big advantage is that there are no woods to burn, so no ashes afterward. Furthermore, gas logs last longer and you will just turn off the gas when you are done using it. There are no clean up after each use.
These gas logs can also be used for older fireplaces, consult with a dealer to see how you can use it with your existing fireplace.
Keeping your chimney clean would guarantee that you will be able to enjoy the warmth that your fireplace can bring during the colder days and nights for years to come. Furthermore, a clean chimney also means cleaner air coming out of the chimney, which can lessen the impact to the environment.