Very few things are as comforting as a glowing fire, but your fireplace and chimney need to be well-maintained at all times if you want to keep your family safe. Seemingly minor issues such as creosote buildup and cracks in the flue can result in dangerous accidents if you aren’t careful. These few maintenance tips will allow you to safely enjoy your fireplace throughout the year.
Regularly Inspect the Fireplace and Chimney
If the fireplace is being used regularly, then you need to thoroughly inspect it at least once every 30 days. During your inspection, you should be looking for issues such as cracked bricks, crumbling mortar, larger pockets of soot, and creosote buildup. If you notice any of those issues, then you must contact a chimney repair company before you use your fireplace again.
Clean Away Creosote Weekly
No matter what tools you use to clean your chimney and fireplace, you need to wear proper face protection at all times. Thin layers of creosote on the walls of the chimney can typically be removed with a shop vac and damp rag. You will also need to invest in hose extenders if your shop vac doesn’t reach the damper or smoke shelf.
Schedule Professional Seasonal Cleaning
No matter what steps you take to keep your chimney clean, you will need professional help at some point. As a general rule, you should hire a chimney sweep at least once every year to clear away pockets of creosote deeper in the flue. A professional chimney sweep Washington DC can also give you a second opinion on any damage that you might have recently noticed. Most chimney sweep companies offer additional maintenance services such as flue relining and replacing damaged mortar.
It might be tempting to skip the hard work and use a chimney cleaning log, but those products rarely work on thicker deposits of creosote. With a little bit of elbow grease and some professional assistance, you will be able to safely enjoy your fireplace for many years to come.