Why and how to clean your chimney at the end of the season ?

Having a fireplace is one of life’s simple pleasures. Do you like sitting around the fire with your loved ones? And do you like to pay attention to its maintenance and your safety? If you have ever wondered why and how to clean your chimney, then the following article is for you. At the end of the season, when you have enjoyed your fireplace – and it has seen maximum use – it is recommended that you clean your fireplace to leave it in good condition and ready for use in the fall. Ducts covered in soot, blackened bricks, glass encrusted with dirt… months of use mean that when spring arrives, you need to thoroughly clean your chimney.

Why is chimney cleaning so important?

Most homeowners tend to forget that they have a chimney to clean and maintain. This can be dangerous. An unattended fireplace can accumulate a lot of ash and tar, material that can fall back into your fireplace. This mixture of ashes and tar can cause serious respiratory problems, especially for you and your family. In addition, did you know that the main cause of fire in houses with a chimney is precisely the chimney fire? Unmaintained chimneys still claim far too many lives each year. When you leave your chimney without maintenance for a long time, a substance harmful to your health accumulates in your flue while you continue to light your fires. This substance is highly flammable and can lead to a dangerous chimney fire. First of all, your chimney can catch fire, then the fire can spread very quickly to different places in your home.

One could therefore think that it is better to clean the chimney at the beginning of the season and not to clean it when you stop using it.

Clean regularly and at the end of the season

However, cleaning the chimney is important both regularly during the winter but also at the time of its shutdown when you stop using it during the less cold months. During the months of winter use of your chimney, keeping a clean hearth allows you to optimize its performance, save firewood and avoid problems related to poor smoke evacuation, such as odors or hazardous gases generated by clogged pipes. Cleaning the chimney when you are going to stop using it is above all a matter of safety. Leaving the flue through which the fumes exit dirty can be a hazard due to the creosote that will have accumulated there after its continuous use during the winter. The combustion of wood during normal use of the fireplace generates a substance called creosote.

It is a flammable substance, a kind of viscous oil that is easy to burn and can ignite if it comes into contact with sparks or outside fire. Of course, you will also avoid possible breakdowns or malfunctions when it comes time to get your fireplace back up and running at the start of winter. In this sense, even if you have done a chimney cleaning at the end of the season, it is always worth doing at least one check at the start of the new one. Make sure everything ran smoothly during the summer months. Check to see if there is a nest in the duct.

From bricks to glass: cleaning your entire chimney at the end of the season

What does cleaning your chimney involve? Cleaning or sweeping your chimney basically involves taking a brush and sweeping the sides of your chimney from top to bottom. A chimney sweep will break up material that has accumulated on the sides of the flue and in your chimney. When wood burns, it releases various products during the combustion process. These by-products create the black soot you see inside your chimney. This layer of soot is extremely flammable and must be cleaned off. In addition to sweeping the fireplace hearth, take advantage of the end of the cold season to remove the soot from the brick part of the chimneys.

Although you regularly remove the ashes from your fireplace, clean your fireplace thoroughly this time. Empty the fireplace of the ashes using a vacuum cleaner provided for this purpose then dust the whole unit. The glass doors of your fireplace hearth also deserve a good cleaning once the season is over. If soap and water and a strong brush aren’t enough, you can use a stripper to help remove built-up soot. Thus, your chimney will be spectacularly clean during the hot season. And even without fire, it will remain a spectacular decorative element!

Clean up at the end of the season and think about restocking

The end of the season is also an opportunity to check the stock of wood you have left or of pellets if you use a pellet stove. Is your fuel well protected from humidity? How many do you have left? When did you plan to restock? Try to buy wood or pellets in the heart of summer: this is when the prices are the most attractive.

In short, the chimney guarantees the evacuation of smoke, if it is neither cleaned nor swept, the risk of fire is greater. Chimney sweeping is a mandatory action for safety issues but also for health issues.

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