To keep your fireplace and chimney in tip-top shape and functioning all year round, there's nothing like professional chimney cleaning services. A pro can make sure that your fireplace and chimney maintenance is virtually effortless.
You may need to hire a chimney sweep annually, usually in the fall before the weather turns cold enough to warrant a fire in your hearth. But, what about the rest of the year? A proactive approach between professional cleanings can improve your fireplace's efficiency and safety. Here are some tips.
1. Always Use Properly Seasoned Firewood
If you don't use properly seasoned firewood, you'll end up with extra creosote and soot throughout your chimney, which will ultimately make it much harder to clean. It's also not great for your lungs and can aggravate any allergies you might have. Good firewood typically has a moisture content of 20% or less, and investing in a moisture monitor is wise.
2. Make Sure You Have Proper Airflow
The right amount of airflow is also important. Not only does your fire need enough air to keep going, but good airflow can also help keep down the creosote and soot that might otherwise coat the inside of your fireplace and chimney. Make sure that you know how to fully open the damper in your chimney and that you keep the air vents free of obstructions, including birds' nests.
3. Always Look for Blockages
Birds like to nest in any nook and cranny, especially up high, and squirrels have been known to stockpile their nuts in chimneys, too. With that in mind, take the time to periodically shine a flashlight up your chimney to check for blockages or visible debris. If you see any, it's best to make that call to your chimney sweep a little early.
4. Regularly Remove Ash and Clean the Firebox
If you don't already have a set of chimney tools, you need them. Use the metal scoop and bucket to collect the ash after you've let a fire burn out, and periodically clean the entire firebox with the small broom and dust pan. You can also use a shop vac to suck up the ash if you don't like handling any of it yourself. That will keep the ash from building up in your chimney more than necessary.
By following these four tips, getting regularly scheduled inspections, and getting yearly cleanings, your fireplace and chimney will remain useful and safe for years to come. For more information on chimney cleaning, contact a company near you.