Your 2023 Fireplace Spring Cleaning Checklist
Even if you commit to a thorough spring cleaning every year, it’s easy to overlook some of the bigger jobs — even though they’re just as important. The inside of your chimney is out of sight, out of mind, but you should not forget to create your 2023 fireplace spring cleaning checklist.
But why is a clean chimney essential on your spring cleaning checklist? Each time you light your fireplace, two substances stick to the walls — soot and creosote. These build up over time and stop your chimney from ventilating as it should. Carbon monoxide fumes become trapped inside the home, causing respiratory problems and even a suffocation risk.
Creosote is a thick, oily residue and a byproduct of burning wood. It’s harder to remove than soot and, what’s worse, it’s extremely flammable. There are 25,000 chimney fires per year in the U.S. and creosote is one of the main dangers of wood-burning appliances. Here, you’ll learn how often you should have your chimney cleaned and how you can check your chimney’s condition.
How Often Should You Have Your Chimney Cleaned?
It’s widely acknowledged by fire and safety experts that you should get your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year. If you have an oil or wood-burning fireplace, or if you use the fireplace a lot, you may need to book a fireplace cleaning twice a year. Speak to a qualified professional who’ll be able to assess this for you.
Factors that may affect needing more chimney cleanings or sweeps:
- Burning unseasoned wood may lead to an increased number of fireplace cleanings.
- First-year being a chimney owner
- Increased usage throughout the year
- Heavy creosote build-up
- Lack of maintenance and cleaning may result in needing more services and sweeps
Find a Certified Chimney Sweep Service
When you need a chimney inspection or fireplace cleaning service it’s important to choose a certified chimney sweep company. If you are in the west Chicago area and suburbs Valley Chimney can provide you with all your chimney sweep needs.
Valley holds a CSIA certification and is required to continue its education and maintain its certification periodically otherwise the certification is removed.
If you are not in our serviceable area we recommend seeking out a company that is CSIA certified. This certification is a must-have for hiring a safe, knowledgeable, professional chimney sweep service!
How To Tell If Your Chimney Needs Cleaning
There are a lot of ways that indicate it is time for your annual chimney cleaning. If you notice one of these indicators, don’t panic, just call the experts at Valley Chimney to schedule a professional chimney cleaning.
Why Does My Chimney Have a Bad Odor?
Help! My chimney smells, what do I do? A fire in a well-maintained chimney should emit a pleasing smell — especially if you’re burning wood. The smell of burning debris in the chimney won’t be nearly as pleasant and it’s a clear sign the smoke isn’t ventilating properly.
Why Does My Fireplace Have a Lack of Heat?
Why won’t my fireplace work? If you find it harder to start or maintain a fire in your fireplace, likely a blocked chimney isn’t supplying enough oxygen to get the flames roaring.
Why is My Fireplace Putting So Much Smoke in the Room
Smoke should generally only leave the room the fireplace is in. If you can see smoke in the air near the fireplace, take it as a serious sign to get your chimney inspected and cleaned. Otherwise, your family’s health is at risk from toxic fumes.
How To Check the Condition of Your Chimney
You can look for the formation of creosote in your fireplace yourself. First, make sure your chimney isn’t producing a downdraft. If you can feel air when you place your hand into the chimney opening, open a door or window on the same floor as the fireplace. Wait for the downdraft to stop or reverse.
Don some goggles and a disposable dust mask. Grab your strongest flashlight and a fireplace poker and scratch the black surface above the smoke chamber (known as the damper).
If you can remove a paper-thin creosote layer, your chimney probably doesn’t need cleaning yet. If the creosote is 1/8 inch thick, you should schedule a fireplace cleaning soon. If you can scratch away at 1/4 inch of creosote, don’t use the fireplace again and schedule a cleaning as soon as possible. If you light this fireplace you’re at immediate risk of a chimney fire.
Chimney & Fireplace Spring Cleaning Checklist
The new year is here, and the early months always have a lot of rain and snow as we progress into the Spring months. Elemental wear and tear can damage your chimney so read on to see how you can stay on top of your fireplace cleaning needs.
A lot of things can go wrong due to an unclean chimney and fireplace. This is why it is important to check the following elements in the spring. Please make sure your fireplace has been cooled for at least 24 hours before inspecting the chimney and fireplace.
- Chimney exterior: Check for masonry cracks and crumbling. If either is noticed contact your local chimney sweep service.
- Flue: Call a professional chimney sweep to clean the flue.
- Chimney cap: Make sure the cap closes and opens properly, and check for drafts and obstructions.
- Chimney crown: Look for cracks, if one is spotted check for water access and damage.
- Chimney flashing: This is the material that seals the gap between the chimney and the roof. Safely look for damaged and faulty seals that may let in water.
- Firebox: look for cracks and rust in your firebox. If either of these is noticed please contact a professional.
- Make sure rain /top covers are in place
- Always look for/ make sure
- Potential Mold and mildew.
- Creosote build-up
- debris as it can create a clog
- Animals haven’t tampered with the chimney or fireplace
Why Chimney Sweeps Help Keep Your Chimney Healthy
The easiest and safest way to check off most of the tasks on your fireplace cleaning list is to contact a chimney expert. Valley Chimney Sweep and Restoration can help you will all of your chimney cleaning needs.
If you notice issues with your chimney from this spring cleaning checklist then please contact Valley Chimney. We can help get your chimney services scheduled.
DIY Chimney Sweeps Are Dangerous
Routine home maintenance keeps your home in excellent condition, helps you save money, and avoids expensive repairs down the line. There are many home maintenance tasks you can do yourself.
For example, you can clean your gutters, add caulk around windows, or fix leaky faucets. Other tasks, like chimney cleaning and sweeps, require a professional, even if you think you can manage them on your own.
We recommend that you always hire a professional and never attempt DIY chimney sweeps as they are dangerous.
We recommend that you gather an understanding of your chimney needs this spring by viewing our spring cleaning checklist. Catching potential safety hazards before they get worse is a great preventative measure for house fires and keeps you and your family safer.
Schedule Your Chimney Cleaning With Professionals
You can clean your chimney yourself but it is a difficult, dirty, and potentially dangerous task that needs special equipment. Most homeowners book a professional wood, oil, or gas fireplace cleaning service.
Valley Chimney Sweep and Restoration is based in the Chicago area and we offer a wide range of professional chimney services, along with 40 years of experience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
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