If you rely on your fireplace from fall through spring to keep you and your family comfortable, you are certainly not alone. September is upon us, and that means dropping temperatures and perhaps even the first few flakes of snow. Cleaning your fireplace now is vital for ensuring your warmth and comfort throughout the heating season, too. Here are some things to consider.
DIY or Call a Pro?
First things first, you will need to decide whether you should clean your fireplace on your own or hire a professional to do the job for you. This will ultimately depend on two things: the current condition of your fireplace and your overall level of comfort in performing the task on your own. Ideally, it is always best to hire a professional to handle fireplace and chimney maintenance. This is simply a safety factor; hiring a professional ensures a job well done, but it also gives a pro the opportunity to check for flaws or problems requiring immediate attention, too.
If You Choose to DIY
If you choose to clean your fireplace on your own, you will need some equipment to get the job done correctly and safely. Gather the following supplies:
- Goggles and rubber gloves for your personal protection;
- A vacuum (preferably a Shop-Vac or its equivalent) and a broom;
- A nylon-bristled brush;
- Cleaning cloths;
- A spray bottle of water;
- A trash can; and
- A large drop cloth to protect your floors and the surrounding area.
Put on the gloves and goggles, lay down the drop cloth, then remove the grate, the tinder, and any logs from your fireplace. Take these outside and brush them with the nylon brush to remove any soot and be sure to throw out any charred logs and tinder. Then, use the fireplace shovel to remove ashes and debris, and vacuum any excess dust you produce. Then, spray the brick with the water bottle and scrub with the nylon brush to clean more deeply. The cleaning rags can be used to dry the brick when you’ve finished.
If You Choose to Hire a Pro
On the other hand, if you choose to hire a professional, consider scheduling your annual chimney cleaning and your inspections at the same time. This will not only save you money, but it will also ensure your safety throughout the upcoming heating season. When it comes to hiring a professional to take care of your fireplace and chimney, it’s vital that you hire a company that employs CSIA-certified inspectors and sweeps, has been in business for some time, has a solid reputation for excellence, and has valid insurance to protect you and your home in the event of an accident. These things will serve as outstanding protection for your home and family.
Though you can certainly clean your fireplace on your own from time to time – and you should to keep things clean and safe throughout the season – it’s always better to hire a pro at least once each year to clean not only your fireplace, but also your chimney. Scheduling a concurrent inspection is ideal since it gives you the opportunity to address any issues that may prevent the safe and efficient operation of your fireplace this fall and winter.