Did you know that most of the home fires start in uncleaned chimneys? By omitting chimney cleaning, or by doing it inappropriately, you expose yourself to many risks. So you should clean your chimney at least once a year, as advised by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). Cleaning your chimney once per annum eliminates the risk of accumulating creosote, a highly flammable substance which causes the majority of chimney fires. Every homeowner needs to know the proper method of chimney cleaning.
So how to clean your chimney properly?
Before you start cleaning your chimney, you need to undergo certain preparations. First of all, a chimney must be cleaned if the creosote accumulated is at least 3mm thick. You’ll, of course, need proper cleaning supplies. To get the right supplies, you need to measure your flue. Primary chimney cleaning supplies include a brush with a long extension handle; a tall ladder; a broom and a dust mask or bandana. Don’t forget to wear work clothes so you don’t get your regular clothes dirty!
If you’ve done all of the preparations, it is time to start cleaning your chimney.
There are a few methods to chimney cleaning. We’ll first discuss the most common method.
The Top-Down Option. This process requires you to climb the roof. Pack all of your cleaning supplies in a bag and use the ladder to climb to the top. Now it’s time to start cleaning. Attach the brush to the handle and start brushing the chimney from the inside using up and down motions. If you can’t reach deeper, detach the short handle and attach the longer one to reach deeper. Proceed until the whole flue is scraped and clean, after that pack up your supplies and climb down the ladder. Check the fireplace to see if you have omitted some residue and, if so, use a small brush to scrape it into a dustpan.
The second method of chimney cleaning is the Bottom Up Method. Although very similar to the previous method, this method is done from inside the house. You use the same process we used when we discussed the Top Down Method, just instead of starting from the bottom of the chimney. You start from your fireplace and move from bottom up. The scraping method is the same as in the previous method.
After you finish with scraping, you should clean the flue entrance and the fireplace from soot and creosote and make sure to dispose of it in a sealed container as creosote is highly flammable and harmful to the lungs.
And there you go! You have learned two proper methods of chimney cleaning: Top Down and Bottom Up Method. Both of these methods are useful, choosing which one to use depends on your preferences.