There is no specific time when you should undertake chimney cleaning. To determine when to clean the chimney you need to regularly inspect the chimney. To inspect the fireplace you should use a fireplace poker or any other metal device.
You should use the poker to scrape away some of the creosote. If the creosote buildup is paper-thin, you don’t need to clean the chimney; however, if the buildup is 1/8 of an inch, you should consider undertaking the cleaning. If the buildup is 1/8-1/4 inch you should undertake immediate cleaning.
How to remove creosote from the chimney
Creosote is the residue that comes from wood that you burn in the fireplace. You should note that different types of wood leave different types of creosote buildup. For example, pine causes rapid buildup than other types of wood.
It’s important to remove the creosote buildup in order to reduce the draw of the fireplace and lessen its efficiency. If there’s a lot of buildup, you risk the creosote catching fire resulting to flue fire.
To remove the creosote you need to have a chimney brush that will easily fit the chimney flue. Before buying the chimney brush you should consult the chimney manufacturer’s manual to determine the flue size. In addition to the chimney brush, you also need to have 15-20 pound weight and a rope. You should ensure that the weight fits down the flue without cracking the tiles.
You should seal off the fireplace using a drop cloth and masking tape. You should also close the damper in order to trap creosote and soot that falls. To reduce draft while cleaning, you should shut all doors and windows.
Once everything is in place you should attach the chimney brush and weight to the end of the rope and move it up and down on each side of the chimney. You should confirm that you have cleaned the chimney using a flashlight.
To reduce creosote buildup you should use a chemical cleaner such as chimney sweeping log or liquid. The chemical coats the chimney walls with an acid that breaks up creosote particles. The cool thing is that you can easily find the chemical cleaners in home improvement stores.
While you can clean the chimney by yourself, its recommend that you avoid it if you don’t have the right tools. For ideal results, you should seek the services of a professional chimney cleaner.
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