How To Clean Your Fireplaces Before Firing It Up This Winter

Winter day by fireplace

Are you looking forward to cozying up to the fireplace this winter? First, you need to clean the chimney to reduce the risk of an out-of-control fire developing. While you’ll need to call in a professional if you have a heavy creosote buildup, you can likely remove soot yourself. Go over the steps to take when cleaning your fireplace and chimney at home.

Get the Right Brush for the Flue Liner

First, you need to buy a cleaning brush based on the flue liner. If your chimney has a clay flue liner, you’ll need a metal bristle brush. However, if you have a metal liner, go with a brush that has plastic bristles. No matter which brush you choose, make sure you also purchase enough rods so you can reach the top of the chimney.

Get Additional Brushes

You’ll also need to get brushes to clean the smoke shelf and the sides of the firebox. Pick up a bendable noodle brush for the former and a long-handled brush for the latter. Additionally, purchase brushes designed for the smoke chamber and firebox.

Protect Your Home With a Canvas Tarp

Once you have your equipment, place a canvas tarp over the hearth of the fireplace. Then spread it so it protects a large area of the room. Follow that up by covering the fireplace with poly sheeting, taping it in place. Then use duct tape to seal everything so soot and debris won’t end up on your floors or in the air.

Provide Ventilation

Next, place a shop vac outside and tape sections of hose together to run to the fireplace. You’ll turn the vacuum on when brushing the fireplace so that the soot will go into the shop vac. Keep in mind that your filter will clog from time to time, and you’ll need to replace it. Once you have the hoses in place, shut the door and close the windows. That way, the soot won’t end up back in your home.

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Cleaning the Chimney

You’ll finally be ready to start cleaning. First, climb to the roof and place a cleaning brush into the chimney, moving it up and down into the flue to break up and remove the soot. You’ll need to work in small sections, tackling a little bit of soot at a time. Make sure your shop vac is on to catch the soot and debris. You’ll have to add rods as you work your way down the chimney. Eventually, you won’t notice any resistance, meaning you’re at the smoke chamber. Then you can get off the roof and go into your house to continue cleaning. You’ll use your other tools to tackle the firebox, smoke chamber, and smokebox. Once you’re done, vacuum the firebox and remove the tarp and poly sheeting.

This can be quite a job, so don’t hesitate to call a professional if needed. No matter if you do it yourself or hire a pro, having a clean chimney is the goal. Once it’s clean, you can enjoy your fireplace this season.

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