With the winter months upon us, it is necessary to keep your chimney and fireplace performing properly. You could always hire a professional chimney sweeping service (check out chimney sweep cost), but if the thought of being covered in dirt, grime, soot, and whatever else doesn’t send you scrambling for a phone, then you can always try to complete the job by yourself. If you think you might have unstable masonry, then you should contact a tuckpointing professional immediately. Please see Capital Chimney Chicago tuckpointing for more information about masonry issues. Read how to get started on your home improvement project for tips.
Whether you decide to clean a chimney yourself or hire a professional, you will want to make sure a good job is done. Cleaning and maintaining a chimney is essential to prevent chimney fires that could cause serious damage to your chimney, fireplace, and home. These fires will also cause extremely hazardous conditions for you and/or your family. For these reasons the cleaning must be completed properly and thoroughly. Remember, you’re not just clearing out the soot and dust from your fireplace, but you also need to scrape and remove creosote that has built up on your chimney walls.
Before you begin cleaning your chimney, it is essential that you make sure the fireplace and chimney are structurally safe. If it is not, the chimney can fall over if when a ladder leans on it. There are a couple of things to look for to ensure your chimney is safe:
- Water damage. Water damage is incredibly harmful for chimneys. If water gets between the bricks of the chimney or fireplace the bricks may start to flake or deteriorate and cause instability.
- If your chimney is leaning to the side, it might be time for a chimney repair or rebuild. Please see Chicago chimney repair for more information about fireplace repairs.
In order to clean your chimney, you will need:
- A chimney brush
- Fireplace cover
- A tarp, drop cloth, or other covering for the floor and furniture
- Metal bucket
- Shovel and broom
- Shop vacuum
- Dust mask/goggles
The most preferred method of cleaning a chimney will be scraping it with a wire chimney brush. The brush may seem expensive, but for people who frequently use their fireplaces and need to clean their chimney a couple of times a year, a wire chimney brush gives the best results.
Now that you have your tools you will need to start scraping your chimney with your brush. Before you begin, cover anything near the fireplace i.e. furniture, flooring, TV, etc. with the tarp to protect these items from becoming dirty and damaged. Then set up your fireplace cover to keep the soot inside of the fireplace when you are sweeping the chimney.
Shovel the soot out of the fireplace into the bucket and vacuum up anything that is left over. Use the mirror and flashlight to look into the chimney to see if there are any areas you might have missed. The dusk mask and goggles will keep your eyes and your lungs safe from particles floating in the air. Viola, you have just cleaned your own chimney, how does it feel? It’s not so hard, right?
If this process seems too comprehensive to you, then consider hiring a professional for chimney cleaning services.