Fireplace Cleaning Tips for Spring Cleaning
You know it’s time for fireplace spring cleaning in Wisconsin when you see tulips pushing up through un-melted snow or a robin back from winter migration. It feels great to be outdoors in milder temperatures, but chores need doing in the home. A great place to start with spring cleaning is with the wood-burning fireplace, since it’s the dirtiest chore of them all. Gas fireplaces don’t get as grubby, but they also need a dust-down.
Call a Chimney Sweep
The easy part of spring-cleaning a wood-burning fireplace is to call a professional chimney sweep to clean the chimney flue. Do-it-yourself chimney cleaning is not equal to the task as performed by chimney experts. The tools used by the best trained, certified sweeps are state-of-the-art pieces of equipment designed to ensure that the chimney is free of highly flammable creosote. There are three types of creosote, and only one type is easily removed using a brush designed specifically for that purpose. Creosote Levels 2 and 3 can be a challenge to get rid of, even for chimney professionals.
It’s an important safety issue to get rid of creosote in the chimney. If not removed by the time fall rolls around and the fireplace is in use again, the threat of a hazardous chimney fire is very real. Every autumn, thousands of home fires begin when a fire is built in the fireplace but the chimney hasn’t been properly cleaned and maintained.
Prepare to Clean Your Wood-Burning Fireplace
With the flue taken care of by chimney sweeps, it’s your turn to give the fireplace a proper spring-cleaning. The fireplace should not have been in use for at least 48 hours before cleaning, to ensure that there are no hot embers. Essential supplies include: A protective mask, to prevent breathing in toxic materials; gloves; and safety glasses. Before you begin cleaning, cover nearby furniture, carpeting, and rugs.
Remove Ash & Clean Grates
Throughout winter, it’s standard to remove ash from the firebox regularly so that the fire gets plenty of air. Place remaining fireplace ash into an ash can, which should be metal and have a lid. Always place ash cans away from the home on a noncombustible surface, to avoid an accidental house fire. Many of the annual home fires in the U.S. start because of mishandling of the fireplace ashes.
Next, remove the fireplace grate and andirons and bring them outside. Use a water hose and a scrub brush to remove debris.
Then sweep or vacuum the firebox. It is recommended by fire safety experts that only a vacuum specifically designed for fireplaces be used.
Clean Soot-Stained Bricks
Use a cleaning solution of baking soda and warm water plus a wire brush to gently scrub away any soot-stained bricks on your fireplace.
Clean of Your Gas Fireplace
Gas fireplaces burn much cleaner than wood-burning fireplaces, but the equipment still needs to be checked and cleaned annually. The safest thing to do is contact a chimney expert, who can ensure that the components of the gas fireplace are clean and in good working order.
Contact Burlington Fireplace & Heating
The chimney sweeps at Burlington Fireplace & Heating are trained and dedicated to your safety. As part of your fireplace spring-cleaning, contact our certified sweeps at 262-763-3522