You can clean the chimney by yourself or hire a chimney sweep to help you out. If you choose to clean the unit by yourself, you need to consider a number of things:
Watch out for creosote
Creosote is a black or dark brown tar that is deposited on the chimney walls as a result of lighting fire in the chimney. There are three types of creosote all of which contribute to the obstruction of the chimney and even lead to chimney fires.
The worst type of creosote is the slick, shiny substance that is not only highly flammable, but also difficult to clean.
Creosote comes about when you burn unseasoned wood. The fires from the unseasoned, green wood produce a lot of smoke that leaves more creosote deposits.
For you to minimize the amount of creosote produced, you should only burn seasoned hardwood. The fire from the wood not only makes little smoke, it also produces more heat; therefore, your home is warm for a long time.
When you have a lot of creosote and it mixes up with moisture, the flue lining tends to get damaged.
Large deposits of creosote hinder the flow of heat, air, and smoke. This reduces the efficiency of the fireplace, which leads to you spending a lot of wood. You also put yourself and your family at the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as the gases don’t leave the chimney, as well as they, are supposed to.
For you to tell whether your chimney is ripe for cleaning you should determine the levels of creosote in the unit. If the creosote is more than 1/8th of an inch, you should go ahead and clean it.
Stay away from harmful chimney cleaning practices
For them to get the work done fast, some homeowners resort to harmful chimney cleaning practices. Some of the most common bad practices include:
- Using chemicals
- Burning potato peels to soften the creosote in the flue
- Running the top part of a pine tree down your chimney
- Dropping a brick-filled bag down the chimney
- Throwing salt on the logs as they are burning
- Starting a chimney fire. Some people will start a chimney fire as a way of reducing the amount of creosote in the unit. While this might control the creosote levels, it can easily run out of control and you end up with a house fire that will gut down your entire house.You should never start a chimney fire.
Use the right chimney cleaning tools
If you have decided to clean the unit by yourself, ensure that you use the right tools in order to get ideal results. Some of the tools that you need for the work include:
Chimney brushes: There are many types of brushes in the market that you can go for. You need the most basic brush with a long wire that allows you to clean the tight spaces. You also need a still flat wire brush to scrape the creosote off the walls.
For you to clean the tight spaces such as the chimney caps and smoke chamber, you need a hand brush. If this is the first time you are buying the units, ask a reputable chimney cleaning services MD professional to help you out.
Vacuum: You need vacuums to avoid messing up your house. You also use the vacuums to remove pollutants that enter the air during the chimney cleaning process. Just like with the brushes, you should get the input of a professional for you to buy the right ones.