Cleaning of the chimney is an important part of regular house maintenance as the poor condition may result in serious problems and even set the house on fire. Thanks to our friends www.naturesownchimneycleaning.com, we managed to come up with this article that will reveal to you how to prepare your fireplace and chimney for the winter.
While this may be a requiring job, you can do this on your own if you have some basic skills and you are cautious. Alternatively, you may want to call the professional guys to help you with this job.
Perform a thorough inspection
First of all, get yourself goggles and a respirator. Start by cleaning the firebox first and make sure to open the window/door to start the air circulating. Let the airflow like this for a couple of minutes to get the heat out. Now, with the goggles on and with the help of a flashlight, come to the firebox and light into the smoke chamber to see if the passage is clear and there are no physical obstacles.
Then, scratch the internal surface of the chamber a bit to determine the state of it. If it has a matte finish, you do not deal with the creosote layer that requires more cleaning. On the other hand, if the layer is thick, then you might want to call the professional chimney cleaners at affordable prices. If you have tools like noodle brush that bends, you may be able to do something to make it a bit cleaner.
Make sure to check for the cracks or holes in the chimney as this can affect the overall performance, as well as the safety of the entire house. The older ones may start deteriorating so make sure to climb on the roof and perform the inspection. If there are missing bricks or the structure is deformed, you should fix that as soon as you can.
Get rid of the ashes in the firebox
Before starting a fire, you need to prepare the fireplace. You do not want any piles of ashes in the firebox prior to starting a fire, especially the first one of the season. If there is any, vacuum it or remove it manually, but make sure to leave a bit of it so the fire can start easier. If you use coal, make sure to handle it carefully as it can stay hot for three to four days. You do not want to start a fire by accident.
Test the process
Once you prepare everything, start the fire using small pieces of wood. Look for the smoke as it needs to go through the chimney if everything is right and there are no creosote layers nor physical obstacles. Do not forget to check the damper as it can be closed, which can cause smoke to stay within the house instead of going through the chimney. Alternatively, to boost the smoke flow through it, you can open a single window. In case your house is properly sealed, the intake air from the window/door will boost the smoke and direct it to the chimney.