March is coming to a close and April is just around the corner. That means most of us are in the middle of compiling our to-do or our honey-do checklists for spring cleaning and home improvement projects that will last well into the summer. If you don’t already, make sure to add chimney maintenance to your home improvement or spring cleaning checklist. It needs to be cleaned and inspected every year, so why not make it a regular part of your spring cleaning schedule?

How to Clean the Chimney

Chimney cleaning is messy business, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Failure to isolate your fireplace and chimney during the cleaning process will result in a huge mess that will likely require a professional cleaning service to clean up. Here are seven steps for those of you who prefer to take the DIY route to chimney cleaning – providing that you already have the necessary equipment:

  1. Isolate the wood burning appliance and chimney by laying drop cloth or tarps on the floor in the surrounding area. Keep the doors closed if you have an appliance with doors. Doors are the first line of defense against a serious mess, a tarp or drop cloth is the second. Don’t use one or the other. Use both.
  2. Use personal protection items such as goggles and a high quality dust mask. Wear old clothes that you can ruin and throw away if necessary, because soot and creosote do not wash out easily in the wash.
  3. Remove the chimney cap carefully, without damaging it, and set it aside in a spot where it will not roll off of the roof.
  4. Push the chimney cleaning brush down into the opening of the flue toward the smoke shelf. Pull the brush back up toward the top of the chimney and push it back down several times to make sure you do a thorough job cleaning the interior walls.
  5. Use a strong flashlight to look down into the chimney to make sure it’s clean. Repeat step 4 as needed.
  6. Give the dust time to settle into the firebox or wood stove before you begin the cleanup process. Prematurely opening the doors will result in a big mess. Clean the firebox slowly and carefully to prevent stirring up the soot and creating a nice coating of black soot on your furniture. A shop vac may be your best friend during the cleanup process. Use filters that are designed to block soot and fine particles.
  7. Slowly pull up the tarp or drop cloth to prevent fanning soot across the room and carefully clean the room to make sure there is no residual soot.

Or you can take the easier route and call Lou Curley’s Chimney Services at 610-626-2439 to clean the chimney for you. We use state of the art equipment to protect your home and quickly clean the chimney so that you can get back to the normal home improvement or spring cleaning checklist.