Tips and steps to clean a fireplace

Lighting the fireplace on cold days gives a cozy atmosphere. Proper maintenance of these stoves is necessary to prevent health effects and domestic accidents.

Last update: February 28, 2022

Cleaning a fireplace is essential to keep it in good condition, take care of the health of users and enjoy a warm home environment in the cold months. At least once a year these stoves need attention to perform at 100%.

Another reason to clean chimneys is to eliminate unpleasant odors caused by the accumulation of waste. Also, improve the air current, since the wind strains branches, dry leaves, nests and other debris that block the heat output.

In addition, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) warns that most fires originating in these ducts are due to dirt and accumulation of creosote and soot. Both are by-products of wood combustion that increase the risk of accidents.

Methods to clean a chimney

There are wood, gas, electric and bioethanol fireplaces. In this case you will know how is the maintenance of the traditional ones.

You simplify the process by cleaning the residue every day with natural remedies, such as water with vinegar, baking soda with detergent, potato skins and salt on the logs. But stoves also require deep hygiene and there are 2 modes:

  • One is the mechanical toilet which involves the use of a chimney sweep, that is, a flexible manual or electric tool that loosens the soot.
  • The other is chemical sanitation based on formulas to which solid remains react.
Chimneys collect debris that should be removed daily, but regular deep cleanings should also be scheduled.

What materials do you need?

Depending on the type of cleaning you choose, you use the following implements:

  • Gloves.
  • Flashlight.
  • Protective mask.
  • Safety glasses.
  • Ash vacuum cleaner.
  • Paper, plastic and protective cardboard.
  • Chimney sweep brush: long-handled, flue or noodle.

Steps to clean a fireplace

Check that you have all the tools at hand and covers the surroundings of the room so as not to dirty. Do not forget the safety equipment, since you will work with substances conducive to intoxication.

mechanical cleaning

  1. Put on the protection implements (mask, gloves and face shield).
  2. Cover the front of the fireplace and leave an opening in the middle. Use plastic, cardboard or paper.
  3. Turn on the flashlight and check the inside of the duct to identify the areas with the most dirt.
  4. Feed the brush in as you scrub and unroll the handle to reach all points. You will see the residues fall.
  5. Remove the brush and covers, once the debris has been removed from the tube.
  6. Make sure the flue opens and closes smoothly and there is no debris left behind; if so, suck it up. It also sucks up what fell around the room.
  7. Do not forget to clean the base and the mouth of the fireplace.

Chemical cleaning

  1. Turn on the heat and wait 30 minutes until the tube heats up well. This is a maintenance sanitization during use.
  2. Stoke the flames with chimney sweep logs. If you want, you can incorporate them without removing them from the wrapper. Regulates the amount of product according to the use of the fireplace. If you light it occasionally, a weekly bag is enough. If you turn it on several days in a row, it demands 3 packs per week.
  3. As the ashes cool, remove them. With these steps your fireplace will be in optimal conditions until the next cleaning.

Maintenance tips for fireplaces

For ordinary cleaning with a broom, vacuum cleaner, cloths and a dustpan you help yourself. But if it is in your possibilities to buy a maintenance kit, you are guaranteed specialized tools.

Ask about chimney cleaning detergents or prepare natural compounds at home that facilitate daily cleaning. In general, some 70 dry wood burns are estimated before sanitizing. Likewise, you will know that you have to get to work if you measure with the poker and it throws more than 3 millimeters of waste.

A recommendation so that the task is not cumbersome is Do not light with paper or foreign fuels for this purpose. Look for wood that is not very resinous, hard and very dry. Do not hit with painted wood or broken pieces of furniture.

The Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Stoves, Fireplaces and Kitchens for Solid Fuels asserts that firewood, apart from being a renewable and cheap biofuel, reduces the risk of fires and entails benefits for the environment compared to other heating methods.

Firewood is a useful biofuel for fireplaces and ovens.

When is it time to request professional attention to clean a chimney?

Even if you comply with the preventive maintenance of the chimney, it is essential that a professional inspect it every year, thus it rules out deterioration, ventilation failures and provides meticulous sanitation. It is time to seek an expert if the pipe only emits smoke that stains the ceiling, there are unpleasant odors impregnated in the furniture and curtains or the outlet is clogged.

As part of the daily cleaning you can spray ground coffee to remove dirt on bricks, Moisten burner walls with all-purpose cleaner or scrub off dirt with a sponge. Do not forget to schedule an inspection with technicians in the area despite this, since it is a preventive measure against fires.

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