NFPA states, chimney fires are responsible for 32% of all heating fires in the US. This also means that a quarter of property damages are a result of chimney fires. Most chimney fires are caused by an excess buildup of creosote that frequently ignites when a homeowner uses the equipment, so regular maintenance is essential. (NFPA NO.USS09, 2018) Continue reading to see why you should schedule a chimney cleaning during warmer months!
This is a Safety Task!
Creosote buildup will cause a chimney fire, one of the leading causes of house fires. According to NFPA researchers, 5% of all reported home fires between 2012-2016 were confirmed chimney or flue fires. The main issue being creosote buildup. NFPA No.USS09 (2018) Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury around the home. Homeowners should carefully consider the dangers of getting on a ladder before climbing up on the roof or ladder to do this task.
Tasks can be done by: Proper tools and appropriate safety precautions can be done by the homeowner, chimney cleaner, or handyman. It is recommended that you call a chimney sweep or cleaning service!
Schedule a Chimney Cleaning During Warmer Months | Task Steps
Step 1 – Inspect your chimney
- Most chimneys can be inspected by looking up the fireplace opening with a flashlight to see any black soot or creosote buildup. Sometimes you may see brownish, yellowish, or orange-looking streaks running down the chimney or metal flues. This is usually creosote buildup. It is a good idea to put a tarp down on the fireplace floor to protect from getting soot or creosote in the rest of your home.
- The goal is to clean out any excess creosote buildup that needs to be cleaned out to prevent a chimney fire. HomeManager does not recommend homeowners attempt to clean out their chimneys on their own. This job can be done 2 ways, from the roof or the fireplace/woodstove. This is one task you should hire out to a professional because it requires climbing onto the roof and using specialized tools, which can get messy. Homeowners should carefully consider the ladder and roof risks before attempting DIY. Again, consider hiring a professional.
- Tool List: Flashlight
Step 2 – Schedule a professional chimney sweep
- People use many different DIY methods to clean out their chimney, but HomeManager does not recommend that homeowners do this task independently. Instead, find a reputable professional to clean out the soot buildup.
- It’s a good idea to schedule your chimney cleaning ahead of the crowd. Scheduling during the spring or summer will allow for more flexibility & guarantee that you’re all set for the colder months ahead!
- Tool List: Flashlight
Step 3 – Clean reachable areas
- You can still clean the reachable areas of your fireplace or woodstove. Some systems allow you to clean from below. This can be dirtier but a lot safer. Be sure to wear your face mask and safety glasses.
- It would help if you lay out a tarp to protect the flooring in front of the fireplace.
- If you want to clean smoke off brick, stone, or steel, mix one cup of white vinegar & ½ cup of warm water to clean any problem areas.
- After scraping and brushing the walls off, take everything out of your fireplace to sweep or vacuum out any loose dirt/soot.
- Tool List: (face mask & safety glasses ?), tarp, vacuum/broom
- Supply List & Costs: white vinegar
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