Regular chimney cleanings are important for several reasons, the most important being the health and safety of you and your family. A clean chimney is less prone to internal fires caused when soot and creosote build up in the flue. Regular cleanings and inspections can keep creosote from building up and help troubleshoot potential problems with your chimney. Here are a few tips to help keep your chimney as clean as possible.
Do It Yourself
If you’re not afraid of heights or getting your hands dirty, you can clean your own chimney. You will need a wire chimney brush that fits the size and shape of your chimney. If you are using a weighted brush and cleaning from the top down, you will need a length of rope longer than the height of your chimney and an extension ladder. You will want to seal your fireplace with plastic tarping and masking tape to prevent soot and debris from ruining the inside of your home.
If you are cleaning from the bottom up, you will need enough piping to reach the entire length of your flue. Lay a tarp down inside the bottom of the flue and on surrounding carpet and furnishings. It is also imperative that you wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, and a mask.
Get an Upgrade
If your chimney is older than 1992, chances are it is not EPA-certified. New stoves and fireplace inserts that are agency-approved burn more efficiently, which means you will be using less fuel. They also generate less soot and are easier to clean. Some states offer tax incentives for energy efficient upgrades.
It is also a good idea to upgrade your fuel source. Wood that burns hotter generates less soot. Experts recommend that you only use wood that has been “seasoned” or dried for at least a year. Maple, birch, ash, and oak are recommended hardwoods that burn at higher temperatures and will generate less soot.
Call the Professionals
Cleaning your chimney is a dirty job. One wrong move and you will have soot all over your living room! Don’t sweat the details and let the pros handle your yearly cleaning and inspection. If you are looking for a professionally certified chimney sweep in Atlanta, GA, the Atlanta Chimney Doctor can take care of all your chimney concerns.