How to Keep Your Fireplace & Chimney Clean
A clean fireplace and chimney means safety for you and your family. There are several ways you can keep your firebox and chimney flue clean, and none of them take a lot of time. Here are some tips.
The key to a clean fireplace is staying on top of it. This requires removing ashes before they’ve reached the height of the grate. (Make sure the fire is completely out first.) Vacuum and/or shovel ashes out of the fireplace, then wipe down the firebox surfaces with a non-flammable cleaner.
It’s always best to let fires extinguish on their own. Pouring water on a fire will cause the ashes to become pasty and harder to remove.
Check your damper
Dampers that can’t open fully because of damage or rust can cause your fires to produce a lot of smoke due to a decrease of drafting air. This extra smoke will add soot to your firebox – and to the chimney flue.
Keeping your chimney clean
While nothing can replace annual visits from a certified, professional chimney sweep, you can do your part to keep your chimney as clean and safe as possible.
Install a quality chimney cap
Chimney flue covers go over the top opening of the flue to keep debris from getting inside. Full-width chimney caps cover the flue as well as the entire top of the chimney for added protection. If you don’t have any type of flue covering, one needs to be installed to protect against:
- Outside dust
- Fruit, acorns and other tree edibles
- Small animals who build nests in chimneys (squirrels, birds, bats, raccoons, rodents, etc.)
- Dead animals who die inside the flue, unable to get out (certain birds and squirrels often cannot make their way out of chimneys)
These obstructions can narrow the flue and cause smoke and deadly carbon monoxide to back up into the house. They also can serve as fuel for a chimney fire. Burn only dry, seasoned wood: Damp firewood creates much more smoke than dry wood. This smoke will leave deposits inside your firebox and turn into flammable creosote inside your flue. Seasoned wood, on the other hand, burns efficiently with far less smoke. Fires with dry wood are easier to start, easier to keep going and hotter.
Dense woods such as maple, ash and oak make ideal firewood. Ensure that the wood is seasoned by allowing it to dry for about six months before using. Dry your wood a few inches off the ground in an area not affected by rain or snow.
Professional chimney cleaning
Following the tips above will go a long way toward keeping your fireplace and chimney clean all year long. The next step in making your chimney both clean and safe is annual chimney cleaning by a technician certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
Certified chimney sweeps have the industry-grade tools and equipment to successfully remove creosote and debris from your chimney flue. Yearly cleaning – ideally coupled with a thorough fireplace and chimney
Hudson Valley Chimney of Poughkeepsie, NY, provides certified chimney sweep services, expert chimney repair and rebuilding and professional chimney inspections. Ensure that your system is clean and safe year-round by calling (845) 471-1071.