Having a fireplace is one of the simple pleasures in life. Do you like to sit around the fire with your loved ones? And do you like to pay attention to its maintenance and your safety? If you’ve ever wondered why and how to clean your fireplace, then the following article is for you. At the end of the season, when you have enjoyed your fireplace – and it has seen maximum use, it is recommended that you clean your fireplace to leave it in good condition and ready for use in the fall. Ducts covered in soot, blackened bricks, glass encrusted with dirt … months of use mean that when spring arrives, you have to carry out a thorough cleaning of your chimney.
Why is chimney cleaning so important?
Most homeowners tend to forget that they have a fireplace to clean and maintain. That can be dangerous. An unattended fireplace can build up a lot of ash and tar, which can fall back into your fireplace. This mixture of ash and tar can cause serious breathing problems, especially for you and your family. In addition, did you know that the main cause of fires in homes that have a chimney is precisely the chimney fire? Unmaintained chimneys still claim far too many lives each year. When you leave your fireplace maintenance-free for a long time, a substance harmful to your health will build up in your flue as you continue to light your fires. This substance is highly flammable and can lead to a dangerous chimney fire. First of all, your chimney can catch fire, then the fire can spread very quickly to different places in your home.
We might therefore think that it is better to sweep the chimney at the beginning of the season and not to clean when we are going to stop using it.
Clean regularly and at the end of the season
However, cleaning the chimney is important both regularly during the winter but also when it is shut down when you stop using it during the cooler months. During the months of use of your fireplace in the winter, keeping a clean fireplace allows you to optimize its performance, save firewood and avoid problems related to poor smoke evacuation, such as odors or dangerous gases generated by blocked pipes. Cleaning the chimney when you are going to stop using it is above all a matter of safety. Leaving the duct through which the fumes exit dirty can be a hazard due to the creosote that will have accumulated there after continued use during the winter. Burning wood during normal use of the fireplace generates a substance called creosote.
It is a flammable substance, a kind of viscous oil that is easy to burn and can ignite if it comes in contact with sparks or outside fire. Of course, you will also avoid possible breakdowns or malfunctions when restarting your fireplace at the start of winter. In this sense, even if you have done a chimney cleaning at the end of the season, it is always worth doing at least one check at the beginning of the news. Make sure everything went smoothly during the summer months. See if a nest is in the duct.
From bricks to glass: cleaning your entire fireplace at the end of the season
What does cleaning your chimney involve? Cleaning or sweeping your chimney is basically taking a brush and sweeping the sides of your chimney from top to bottom. A chimney sweep will break up material that has built up on the sides of the flue and in your chimney. When wood burns, it gives off various products during the combustion process. These by-products create the black soot you see inside your fireplace. This layer of soot is extremely flammable and must be cleaned up. In addition to sweeping the fireplace, take advantage of the end of the cold season to remove soot from the brick part of the chimneys.
Although you regularly remove the ashes from your fireplace, this time clean your fireplace thoroughly. Empty the firebox of ashes using a vacuum cleaner designed for this purpose, then dust the assembly. The glass doors of your fireplace are also worth a good cleaning after the season is over. If soap and water and a strong brush aren’t enough, you can use a stripper to help remove the built-up soot. Thus, your fireplace will be spectacularly clean during the hot season. And even without a fire, it will remain a spectacular decorative element!
Clean at the end of the season and think about restocking
The end of the season is also an opportunity to check the stock of wood you have left or of pellets if you are using a pellet stove. Is your fuel well protected from humidity? How many do you have left? When did you plan to restock? Try to buy wood or pellets in the heart of summer: this is when the prices are the most attractive.
In short, the chimney guarantees the evacuation of smoke, if it is not cleaned or swept, the risk of fire is increased. Chimney sweeping is compulsory for safety reasons but also for health questions.