Keep your chimney clean and safe
Chimneys act as an outlet for heat, smoke and soot from fireplaces and are sometimes used with furnaces, as well. Chimneys should be cleaned regularly to ensure safe and efficient functioning. For chimneys used with heating systems, cleaning once a year is adequate. For chimneys installed with a fireplace, cleaning depends on use. For a rarely used fireplace, once a year is enough. If the fireplace is used daily or weekly, cleaning should be done at least twice a year.
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The reason for regular chimney cleaning is a buildup of creosote, a black residue that clings to the interior of chimneys. Creosote is flammable, so this buildup can cause a chimney fire if the air passage is blocked. Always, a flue should be kept as clean as possible to ensure proper ventilation.
Chimney Cleaning Supplies
There a number of chimney cleaning supplies for the handy person who prefers to do it him or herself. Telescoping chimney brushes with special cleaning heads are available in the larger hardware emporiums. It's important to remember that to properly clean chimneys, the chimney brushes must extend the entire length of the interior chimney walls.
In addition to the telescoping chimney brushes, a chimney broom and soot collection pan will be needed to collect free-falling soot as chimney brushes pass through the chamber. For furnace chimneys, chimney cleaning supplies may include a ladder with an extension to the roofline, depending on the age of the home.
A surgical-type mask, utility gloves and safety goggles are also helpful protection for eyes, nose and hands from stray soot particles. Coveralls are also a helpful part of chimney cleaning supplies. Electric shop vacuums with special extension poles are also available. Though a bit pricey, they clean in half the time.
Chimney Cleaning Tips
Once all of the necessary equipment has been appropriated, tackling the job of chimney cleaning begins in earnest. Extend the telescoping chimney brush upward, and very slowly sweep along each inside wall of the chamber. When most of the loosened soot has fallen into the soot collection pan, switch from the coarse to the soft chimney brush heads, and then conclude with the smoothing pad. Chimney residue should be properly disposed of.
Chimney Sweeping Services
Chimney service for cleaning furnace and fireplace chimneys is available at very reasonable rates. The chimney sweep performs all of the tasks required to keep a chimney clean. Chimney cleaners should be able to insure their work and have good references and credentials. Some chimney services offer a contract for regular chimney maintenance for greater convenience.
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