Most homeowners that have a fireplace and chimney will use it at least once or twice throughout fall and winter, but not many people clean their chimney as often as is recommended. If you use your fireplace every year but do not get it cleaned every year, you run the risk of creosote buildup, ash accumulation, water damage and other mishaps. Take a look below to learn about the imperative steps to take while chimney cleaning.
1. Assess the equipment you will need
Chimney cleaning is an extensive project as it is, so do not make it harder on yourself by miscalculating the amount or type of equipment that you will need for the job. Some of the basics are a chimney brush, pipe or rope slightly longer than the full length of your chimney, a small wire or plastic brush, drop cloths or tarps for indoors, a broom and pan, one small and large waste bucket and protective gear for yourself. You may also want a weight to attach if you are using rope, so the brush will reach the bottom successfully.
2. Prepare the chimney, your home and yourself for the job
By far, one of the most common reasons homeowners run into chimney problems is because the entire flue was not checked before cleaning began. Bugs, wasps, animals, debris buildup and even water damage can slowly fester during non-chimney seasons. Animals are perhaps the most frequent of issues encountered, due to the very nest-like qualities of the top of a chimney flue.
If there is anything preventing the cleaning, have this addressed before valuable time is spent on the job. Then, before starting, make sure to remove any valuable furniture or decoration from the work site, and lay out drop cloths to collect any wayward dust or soot.
3. Determine which end to start on
Chimneys do not always need to be cleaned from the top down. You are at an advantage if your chimney is shorter than others, because this makes it simpler to clean from the fireplace. Thin and nimble piping often works best in this scenario, as it can be adjusted for the needs of your chimney. If you do end up cleaning from the bottom, make sure you wear safety glasses and a dust or hospital mask because you will be looking upwards to make sure you cleaned the full length of the flue.
4. Clean each area, not just the flue
Beyond cleaning the flue, make sure you address the fireplace and its grout. If your fireplace does not experience blockage or buildup anywhere in the flue, most of the creosote, ash and soot will gather at the base (usually back end) of the fireplace. When done carefully, this can easily be formed into a pile and brushed out with a handheld brush or small enough broom. Always make sure to have at least your small waste bucket on hand when sweeping out the remaining garbage.
5. Dispose of waste material properly
Once the chimney itself has been cleaned, its waste has to be disposed of properly. Most cities will have ordinances about what type of waste can be considered trash and what is toxic or hazardous waste material, so refer to your township for this information. You might want to have a professional house cleaning company come to your house afterwards, as cleaning your chimney can release lots of dust during the process.
How a Pro Does Chimney Cleaning
Chimney cleaning is a lot of work, and it is often a task that most homeowners do not want to handle. In many instances, chimney cleaning is lumped into the category of other undesirable house cleaning tasks. If this sounds like you, take a look at the house cleaning services Maids by Trade offers and see if it sounds like a fit for you. Our house cleaning services have been highly rated for nearly 20 years and are backed by a full Satisfaction Guarantee.