As part of your annual spring cleaning routine, you should take some time to clean your wood burning fireplace chimney. During the cold winter months when you use your fireplace the most, hot ash and tar that travel into your chimney as part of smoke cool rapidly and solidify on the walls. This solidified substance is extremely flammable and must be removed yearly to avoid chimney fires. Learning how to clean fireplace chimneys can save you time, money, and frustration.
DIY Fireplace Cleaning
Hiring a chimney sweep can cost several hundred dollars. Buying the equipment to do it yourself usually costs less, though the price can vary depending on the size and condition of your chimney. You may also need to purchase additional equipment like ladders to access your chimney. Consult someone who knows how to clean fireplace chimneys to recommend the proper equipment.
In general, the items you will need are:
- A ladder capable of reaching your roof
- A cleaning brush on an appropriate size rod
- A bucket
Once you’ve assembled your tools, you need to come up with a plan. Learning how to clean fireplace chimneys is the first step, but what will you do with the ashes when the bucket is full? Having a helper is usually a good idea, and you can enlist a neighbor to help. If your neighbor also has a fireplace, you could split the cost of the materials and agree to help each other. This way, you save some money and you always have someone spotting you.
Depending on the condition of your chimney, you will use either a flat wire brush or a regular wire brush. Flat wire brushes are best for chimneys with a lot of creosote buildup. You’ll also want to make a note of what the inside of the chimney is made of. Certain types of brushes, like wire brushes are best for traditional brick chimneys, while poly brushes are best for metal or coated chimneys.
Vent Free Fireplaces
If you have a vent free gas fireplace, you won’t have to learn how to clean fireplace chimneys. Vent free fireplaces are some of the easiest in terms of maintenance, though it’s a good idea to still have the system inspected annually by a gas technician.
If you do the proper research about learning how to clean fireplace chimneys, your annual spring cleaning of your homes chimney shouldn’t take you very long. Just remember to always have an assistant handy to help remove ashes and to steady the ladder. Proper care and maintenance of your homes chimney can help prevent fires and let you enjoy your fireplace longer.