To avoid the cold of the coming winter and enjoy sitting next to the chimney, you should check to see if your chimney is ready now. It means getting ready for winter with your wood stove by removing all the blockage, soot, built-up creosote, and smoke chamber dust from the chimney liner. Here you will get how to clean chimneys properly and perfectly.
Why is a chimney clean is necessary?
Regularly cleaning chimneys is an essential part of keeping your home safe and healthy. You use your fireplace to burn wood for warmth. Wood logs do not burn cleanly. It releases highly flammable creosote, soot, and blockages buildup on the inside of the chimney walls. The firebox burns and ignites at over 2000° Fahrenheit, and it can lead to a terrible accident in a very short time.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, almost 25000 chimney fires damage $125 million in property every year.
Cleaning chimneys is not such challenging work. You can do it yourself, or you can hire certified specialists for cleaning. Inspect the whole system several times or at least once a year in fall, and make sure your chimney is ready for next winter.
Is cleaning chimneys a DIY job?
In short, the answer is yes. If you want to save your money, you can clean your own chimney.
But it is not everything; safety comes first. Cleaning a chimney means cleaning all the parts of the chimney. The most important area of the chimney is the smoke chamber or smoke shelf area, and it is tough to reach in some fireplaces. You will have to climb the roof to clean the chimney flue, and if you are afraid of heights, then this job is not for you. The final answer is that if you cannot reach all the parts, this is not a DIY project.
How Often Should I Sweep my Chimney?
Chimneys should be cleaned early fall; if you hire a chimney sweep or if you clean it yourself, it will be best in the late summer.
If you find a minimum of ⅛-inch of soot in the chimney liner or more layer of buildup time, hire a chimney sweep. Heavy, thick, oily honeycomb texture soot, creosote inside of the chimney and fall into the firebox during a fire. If you burn artificial logs much, your chimney will be messier even green wood logs and wet wood logs do not burn nicely and make huge smoke and soot.
Every year 40 to 50 chimney fires for chimney sweeps, and most of them require extra cleaning because it is too late to call the chimney sweeps.
If you want to hire a chimney sweep, look for who is certified and professional. The work will be much cleaner and safer if done by professional people.
Tools and Materials
- Chimney wire brushes
- Fiberglass extension rods
- Shop vacuum with dust filter
- Extension ladder
- Sheet plastic
- Tarpaulin or heavy floor covering
- Blade or scraper
- Painter’s tape and duct tape
- Dust mask and safety glasses
- Protective gloves
- Protective eyewear
- Metal bucket
- Fireside shovel
- Cordless drill with a screwdriver bit
Prepare Fireplace room Surrounding Area
Take aside all the items and furniture from in front of the firebox as much as possible. Cover all furniture and dust sensitive items with plastic sheets or old cloth sheets because the chimney sweeping will deliver huge airborne dust.
Seal Off the Fireplace
It is necessary to close the fire stove downstairs to clean the whole system perfectly and nicely. Cut off sheet plastic about 6 feet wide and 4 feet long. Tape the fireplace on the front side sheet plastic very tightly with duct tape. There will be too much soot, dust, and creosote in this cleaning process, so it is more of an emergency to seal the fireplace nicely. Set a shop vacuum with a dust filter hose in the seal area in the fireplace. This will take away all the soot, dust, and creosote, which will fall from the chimney line and smoke area. With this system, the process will be more precise and perfect.
Go to the Roof
Get on the rooftop by an extension ladder placed against the house safely. It could be a little challenging on the roof for the steeper pitched, so you can take an assistant to hold your ladder and bring your cleaning tool on the rooftop. Bring a stool or small ladder if the chimney is too high than the roof. Don’t forget to bring safety precautions like dust masks, hand gloves, or cordless drills.
Remove Chimney Caps
Remove the chimney cap screws with a cordless drill and keep the cap at a good distance from you so that the cap does not fall off the roof when you accidentally touch it. If you do not have a chimney cap or the cap is missing, you would purchase a new one. It prevents birds from nesting in the liner and keeps them safe from leaves and tree branches. If you plan to sell your house ever, you must have to install one. It’s available online in different adjustable sizes and not even very expensive. You can buy a perfect one by measuring your chimney liner.
Inspect The Chimney Liner
Use a Spotlight to see down in the chimney line to see clearly what is in there. Examine carefully if there are any birds or animals. You can use an action camera if you have one to see by sending it down in the line. Just make sure that everything is fine, and cleaning can continue.
Prepare the Chimney Brush
The shape of the flue would be either round or square and size 6 inches or 8 inches. Unpack Fiberglass extension rods and connect with the chimney wire brush. If you want to clean from the top, keep the additional rods near you; on the other hand, if you start to clean from below, attach each other as the liner length. Connect the extension rod with a cordless drill. Make sure you are wearing a perfect respirator, gloves, and safety glasses.
Clean the Chimney flue
You can start clean from any point, top or bottom; it doesn’t matter. The main thing is to clean the whole liner too clean to watch. Scrub the chimney flue once upward and again downward. If you think it’s already clean, recheck carefully with a spotlight and if you find any spot unclean, then make sure it is clean.
Finish Roof Operations
When the roof is thoroughly cleaned as expected, attach the chimney caps with screws in appropriate positions. Accumulate all the tools and get them down by the assistant on the ladder. Get down from the roof safely and remove the ladder.
Clean the Firebox
After all the dust and debris are removed from inside the fire stove by using a shop vacuum with a dust filter hose, wait for ten minutes for the dust and debris to settle. Now it’s time to remove the sheet plastic from the front of the fireplace and clean the smoke shelf. You will need a special brush to clean the smoke chamber in the firebox. Scoop out the ashes with a fireplace shovel and remove them with a dustpan.
Clean the firebox inside as much as possible in the visible area with a smaller chimney cleaning brush. Remove all the tools and materials and discard the Tarpaulin from the house.
Now you are ready to enjoy this winter with this wood stove. Clean every year timely and enjoy.