How to Clean and Maintain a Fireplace

A fireplace brings a magical warmth and comfort to a house, which instantly invokes a sense of homeliness. However, having a fireplace isn’t easy as it requires some level of maintenance to make sure that it’s always clean and safe to use. Experts on the subject suggest that you should consult with a professional Phoenix handyman to do an initial inspection for you, and then you can do the general maintenance.

Requirements for Chimney Sweeping  

When doing handyman Phoenix, professionals typically start by laying down an object known as a drop cloth, as well as placing lights and a plugged-in vacuum system. Some of the main areas of the chimney that a chimney sweep will check prior to cleaning it include the bricks, which need to be inspected for mortar build-up, as normal bricks tend to crack when their mortar crumbles and therefore will need to have it replaced with a high-temperature cement instead. The lintel also needs to be checked because in order for it to continue supporting the opening of the chimney; it has to be at a height of 12 inches.

Another requirement that needs to be fulfilled before the chimney gets cleaned is to put on a respirator to protect against the hazardous effects of creosote dust exposure. Creosote dust is also not good for the chimney due to its flammable nature, as everything on the ventilation part of the chimney is constructed for hot gases and not ignition. Therefore, the presence of an explosive in that part of the chimney could lead to overheating and it will eventually catch fire and even seriously damage those areas.

Self-Cleaning

If you decide to clean your chimney yourself, it would be a good idea to sprinkle the leftover creosote and ashes on your flowerbeds, as they contain essential nutrients like calcium. However, please keep in mind to place the damper in the correct position to preserve energy and keep the fireplace safe from combustion.

You can use a stiff brush to clean the fireplace walls while the vacuum is still running, and be sure to clean the damper ledge of any creosote that may have built-up. Once you’re done with the inner part of the chimney, you can then move onto the outer part, where you’ll clear it of any wear and tear and obstacles. If you haven’t already, it’s advisable to fit the chimney with a cap to protect it from rainwater, small animals, dirt and debris, as well as to stop any sparks from flying dangerously.

While on the outside, make sure that there are no tree branches hanging over the chimney, and be sure to only burn seasoned wood instead of the green variety to keep it working optimally.

Hiring a Professional

If you prefer to leave the job to a professional, be sure the check your chimney sweep’s credentials before you hire them, making sure that they’re certified and have thorough knowledge of chimney building standards, as well as workman’s compensation and insurance. For best results, have your chimney cleaned only when there’s ¼ inch or more creosote on the walls, or at the end of the season when there’s a high percentage of creosote acids, and remember that handyman Phoenix AZ is essential for maintaining your chimney in good working condition.