Cleaning the fireplace does not require great skill; however, the task requires a good dose of patience. Regular cleaning allows you to maintain its operational and thermal efficiency. When the fireplace is lit, hot smoke produced by combustion rises up the chimney and can deposit soot on the internal, cold surfaces. You can find layers of between 0.8 and 1.18 inches of the spongy black or brown material covering the entire surface.
It is necessary to remove the soot from the walls of the chimney every year before using it again. Generally, the greatest amount of soot is deposited higher towards the top, and clusters of the material are formed near sloping and curved parts.
During the cleaning process, ensure that the air draft is unhindered. There should not be obstacles or obstructions on the duct or flue (wasp or birds nests and papers, among others). You can easily see the presence of soot incrustations by observing the openings of the chimney.
Failure to clean the fireplace creates a fire hazard. The thick layer of soot deposited on the inner surface can catch fire in the event of a higher than usual flame, or if there is the dry and cold wind that sucks the sparks.
Soot acts as fuel for the fire thanks to the considerable flow of air, which results in violent combustion. The ignition is generally short (10 – 15 minutes) and also produces high levels of noise and vibration. Sparks or flames come out of the chimney violently while acrid smoke billows. For this reason, it is important to follow a detailed DIY guide on how to clean your chimney.
Removing chimney soot
To remove the fine black or dark brown powder, just sprinkle a handful of salt on the burning wood. This will reduce the volume of soot as well as smoke making it possible to clean the chimney easier once it has been turned off. A shovel and a brush will suffice to remove the ash.
The soot and ash can be used to make compost for your land. If you do not need it, ask your acquaintances before discarding it. To proceed with cleaning the surfaces, the chimney must be switched off and cool. You will need a special kit with a long flexible rod that can reach different parts of the chimney.
The unit must be cleaned with proper equipment since normal household vacuum cleaners can be damaged by the vacuumed material. For cleaning the flue, the market is filled with quality kits that work with the drill. They exploit the rotary movement generated by the machine to clean more efficiently the internal walls of the flue.
If you want to try ordinary household solutions for cleaning surfaces, you can use simple white vinegar. However, this cleaning solution is not effective when working on bricks blackened by soot or encrusted glass.
The chimney can be cleaned at the end of the season by rubbing first with a soft-bristled wire brush to remove any buildups and then make a pass with the cleaning solution. Although cleaning the chimney flue can be tedious, it is an operation that can be performed once a year. It allows you to free the flue from soot and prepare for the next winter season without any worries.
With cleaning, the duct is freed from soot. This means that the smoke can pass freely and does not drift downwards with dire consequences for your family’s health. The same applies to issues associated with odors unless there are problems linked to draft, design errors or other technical aspects.
If you eliminate thick layers of soot, the risk of fire and damage is minimized. On the other hand, performance tends to improve. There are various DIY cleaning solutions. For instance, you can clean the chimney with a brush soaked in water and vinegar. In fact, vinegar is a natural degreaser and helps to eliminate soot on surfaces easily. Complete the process with a thorough rinse using water.
Additional solutions that can be used to clean the chimney include dishwashing liquid and baking soda. Use 3.5 ounces of the latter with three tablespoons of dishwashing liquid to ensure an effective mixture.
Proceed from the top down to easily collect and remove any residue. Use specially designed products r the detergent you have prepared with an abrasive sponge or wire brush to remove resistant deposits.