How To Clean Your Fireplace

By November 19, 2016 Cleaning Tips

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, winter is nearly upon us. Few things are as enjoyable through the coldest months as cozying up by the fireplace with a good book and a mug of hot cocoa. But before you strike the first match, it’s important to be sure your fireplace is ready. Both gas and wood-burning fireplaces need to be properly cleaned so that it functions efficiently and safely.  The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.” It’s important to know: The chimney inspections and (chimney cleaning if necessary) should be done by a trained professional. There’s a lot of different types of buildups that can occur in the chimney and they require different techniques to clean properly. A professional chimney cleaning will cost anywhere from $150 to $300 but that’s nothing compared with the cost of destruction a chimney fire can cause.

Wood-burning Fireplaces

1. Prepare For The Mess
Cover nearby furniture and carpet with old sheets. Wear old clothes and keep a trashcan lined with two bags nearby to dispose of the waste. You don’t want to have to a ton of laundry, mopping and sweeping to do once the chimney cleaning is done. You’ll also want to wear rubber gloves, a dust mask, and clear goggles so you can avoid and direct contact with the materials.

2. Clear Debris
If it’s been some time since your fireplace was used, be sure to check the flue for any birds nests. You’ll want to remove these first and a top-sealing chimney damper secured to the chimney flue can help to prevent them from building again in the future. Bird nests can sometimes allow mite and parasite-infested material in to your home so prevention is important!

3. Clean the Firebox

The firebox is the area where the logs in your fireplace burn. If you’re using your fireplace regularly, it’s a good idea to clean the firebox once per week. Carefully remove the andirons and grate and clean them outside. Next, sweep up any lose ash and debris in the firebox and lay down some newspaper to catch debris from the chimney and flue.

4. Clean the Bricks
Use a wire brush and scraper to loosen soot. Clean off soot-stained bricks with a mixture of warm water and baking soda. Use a stiff bristled brush and gently scrub stains with the solution.

5. Clear Out Creosote
Creosote deposits are a natural byproduct of wood burning in your fireplace. If not thoroughly cleaned, a strong odor can emit from your fireplace come springtime when the humidity is higher and the air conditioner is turned on. To clean mild creosote buildup in your chimney, use a paste made from baking soda and warm water. Dishwashing liquid can also be very effective when tackling stubborn substances.

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are lower maintenance because they burn cleaner but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need cleaned every year as well.

1. Turn Off the Valve
This might seem obvious but it’s still important to double check that the gas is off.

2. Vacuum Debris
Do a quick inspection to make sure that there isn’t any foreign debris around the gas logs or vents. Next, brush the logs off and look for any signs of damage. Lastly, just suck up all the dust, ash, and loose debris with your vacuum. Now you can properly position the logs again and you’re all set!

Not only does a clean fireplace help to improve how your appears, it can help improve your health. Cleaning away all the debris and buildup will help your fires burn more cleanly and also reduce odors from your fireplace all year round. We hope you found this information useful and remember that Blue Spruce Maids is always eager to help keep the rest of your home clean from top to -bottom. Give us a call at 303-747-5640 to schedule or book online in just 60 seconds!
And for even more cleaning tips, checkout our friends over at Eco Clean Madison! They just shared an amazing post on how to properly care for microfiber towels

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