Before calling a chimney sweep expert, there are certain tasks you can carry out by yourself to help maintain your fireplace and chimney. We all know you need specialist equipment to clean the flue of your chimney, but you can clean your fireplace and exterior part of your chimney using tools purchased from any local hardware store.
Here are some maintenance tips to consider to keep your chimney and fireplace in excellent working order.
Contact a Professional Chimney Sweep Service – You’ll need to have your chimney properly serviced by an experienced cleaning crew at least once a year, especially before the cold winter months when you’ll be using it repeatedly. Finding a professional service has become a lot more difficult these days, but there are companies who provide specialist chimney work in Crawley, London, Sussex and Kent if your property is located in the South of England. They have access to all the proper equipment and they’ll be able to properly clean hard to reach portions of the chimney such as the flue.
Clean the Ashes – There are some simple tasks you can conduct to help maintain your chimney and fireplace. During the colder months, don’t let your fireplace ash pile up, keep them at a low level, so you can build over them when preparing a fire. When the weather starts to get warmer outside and you no longer need your fire, clear all of the debris out of your fireplace. Use a fireproof shovel to remove all the ashes, coal and other items.
Clean the Fire Box – The fire box is located just underneath the grill, it catches ash and soot from the fire as it burns, so it must be cleared every time you clean the fireplace. Once you remove all the debris from the box, you can give it a more thorough clean by scrubbing the unit with soapy hot water. This should only be done when you’ve finished using the fire for the winter.
Remove Stubborn Stains – You’ll notice that the back of your fireplace will start to look black and badly stained from smoke, when cleaning this area, you’ll require something a lot stronger that soapy water. Get yourself a firm bristled brush and some chemical cleaning agents to tackle this portion of the chimney. Remember to be careful when handling chemicals and always use protective equipment.
External Checks – If you have access to the top of your chimney and you are sure you aren’t putting yourself in unnecessary danger, you can check the chimney cap. The screen should be free of debris such as bird feathers or nests. You should also check the surrounding structure to ensure stability.
Chimney and fireplace maintenance is a professional job, but there are some things you should do to help maintain the structure. In between service periods, it is vital to keep the fireplace clean. If it is safe enough to check the top of the chimney, proceed with caution and remove any unwanted debris that may have accumulated.