If you have a brick fireplace, it needs to be cleaned just like everything else in your home. It can be easy to forget about, however. Below are some tips on cleaning your fireplace if this is something you want to do on your own.
According to the National Protection Association Standard 211, your chimney should be cleaned at least once per year. If you use your fireplace a lot, such as year round, you may want to have it cleaned more than once a year. Soot and creosote build up inside the chimney and they are flammable. You also need to make sure no debris gets stuck in the chimney, such as a bird's nest.
Below are the items that you will need to clean your chimney:
- Protective eyewear
- Chimney brush
- Flexible rods
Before you get started, you need to seal off your fireplace so soot does not get everywhere in your home. You can do this by putting a piece of tarp in front of the opening. Use the ladder to climb up on the roof and remove the chimney cap. This is a good time to inspect it to make sure it is in good condition.
You need a flexible rod that is long enough to reach the bottom of the chimney. Because you likely do not know the exact measurements, purchase extra rods that you can connect all together. Once you have the rods ready, fasten the chimney brush to the end of the rod securely and then lower the rod slowly down into the chimney. If you are not sure what type of brush you need, contact the contractor that installed your chimney.
A good method of cleaning a chimney is the rod method top down. Raise and lower the brush against the chimney walls. Keep raising and lowering the brush until you have scrubbed all sides of the chimney a few times.
Clean the Inside Fireplace
There are cleaners on the market for cleaning the bricks and mantle inside your home that can be purchased at home improvement stores. You can also make your own natural cleaner if you prefer. If so, mix two ounces of dry laundry detergent and two tablespoons of salt. Add enough water to the mixture to make a paste. Rub the paste onto the brick surface with a clean, damp cloth. Let the mixture sit on the brick for about 15 minutes, then scrub the area with a stiff brush. When you are finished, rinse the area and wipe with a dry cloth.
Take time to do this as soon as you notice the brick is starting to get dirty to make the job much easier for you.
Because this can be dangerous work, you should consider hiring a professional such as The Chimney Medic to clean your chimney for you. While they are there, they can also check to make sure everything is working properly.