Keeping Your Chimney Clean This Winter.

By Kemar Trepair on November 07, 2020

winter-chimney-care



Few things make a place quite as homey as a glowing fireplace to warm your toes and a cup of hot chocolate, the perfect place to watch as winter passes by. During winter homeowners rely tend to greatly on a chimney for warmth and ventilation. Temperatures are going down, more wood or energy will be used to stop the family from freezing.

What Are Chimneys?


Chimneys are structures built on the top of your home to facilitate ventilation. When considering installing one into your home, your mind will automatically go towards a more old fashioned type, like the one your grandma has. Though a masonry chimney may bring on a feeling of nostalgia, A prefabricated metal chimney will now give owners free rein on design, something to bring out your creative side. Allowing them to enjoy the winter in their own style.
All homeowners with a chimney know that cleaning is key to minimizing fire and safety risks during the winter. When seeking to install, replace, or refurbish, homeowners need to do thorough research to find reputable professionals. Choosing the right chimney can reduce the risk of fire hazards, wasted energy, and also enhance the aesthetic appeal of inside and outside of your home. 

Types Of Chimneys

There are two types of chimneys, masonry, and prefabricated metal.


MASONRY CHIMNEYS


Old Style Brick Chimney

A Masonry chimney is built from bricks, mortar, blocks, and stones. There are Pros and cons to both types structures and are all important points to consider when installing a chimney. 

Pros:

  • Are durable and will last the lifetime of your home with proper upkeep.
  • Requires little repair when given regular cleanings and equipped with the proper accessories. 
  • Increase the value of your home. ( According to the 2007 National Association of Realtors survey, 46 percent of home buyers would pay more for a home with at least one fireplace and chimney to avoid the steep cost of installation.)
  • Improve the heating efficiency of your home as the stone absorbs the heat and radiates it throughout adjoining rooms. With winter upon us, We need as much help as we can get.

Cons:

  • Limit space in your home as they require more clearance from combustible materials.
  • A masonry style will need to be set on a concrete foundation and often weigh six or seven tons.
  • Are costlier and more difficult to install than factory-built alternatives.


PREFABRICATED ( FACTORY BUILT) CHIMNEYS


Servicing Prefab Chimneys - Cherry Hill NJ

A relatively modern addition to many homes, these fireplaces consist of fireboxes made from sheet metal. Your choice of a prefab fireplace will likely dictate the type of chimney in your home because these types of fireplaces are engineered to work in tandem with a specific one. If you install your factory-built fireplace with the appropriate chimney (usually detailed in the owner’s manual or purchased as one set), you will need to ensure that your system works safely, especially in the winter season.

Pros:

  • Provide a cost-effective alternative to masonry type
  • Are easy to install.
  • Heat your home with minimal effort and cleanup.
  • Provide homeowners with more freedom when designing the layout of their homes because of the smaller clearance requirements between the fireplace and combustible materials. Allowing you to have a stylish winter.

Cons:

  • Over half violate codes on clearance from combustible materials due to improper installations, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
  • Cannot withstand the lifetime of high heat that masonry fireplaces are capable of weathering.
  • Require regular maintenance, like other appliances with aging parts.


When To Call Your Chimney Sweep This Winter


Your chimneys give off signs once it's time to be cleaned. These signs start early and once addressed quickly, won't cost a lot. But if ignored you can be liable for health and fire risks. The professionals advise you to have your chimney chimneys checked or cleaned at least once a year for every type of fireplace. Your fireplace may look clean but your chimney may not be in the same .
Seven signs your chimney needs cleaning are: 

1. You can smell smoke in your home after burning wood or coal.

2. Your fireplace surrounding is starting to turn black.

3. Your fires aren’t burning as strongly and burning wood creates more smoke than usual.

 4. Strong smell coming from the fireplace
.
5. Soot is dropping down into the fireplace.

6. Animals are nesting in the chimneys.

7. Visible deposits of black particles within the chimney.

The cost of cleaning your chimney will average anywhere between $128 and $363. The national average for cleaning a chimney is presently $244 whereas you may find individuals willing to negotiate. Your chimney needs specialized care Bridggez Connect can help connect you with a chimney sweep professional.


Chimney Inspections


What Can I Expect During A Chimney inspection?
Chimney inspections come in various levels and are priced as such. An inspection of your chimney can be free or goes up to $5,000 depending on the level of the inspection needed by the professional. It is necessary to ensure your chimney is safe to clean and use.


LEVEL 1

A level one inspection is often considered apart of the cleaning services but paying for one separately costs between $80 and $200. The professional will inspect the exterior and interior of the chimney, looking for all signs of damages. 

LEVEL 2

This inspection level will cost anywhere between $100 to $500 and is very necessary before work can be performed on your chimney. This inspection will include all the tasks of a level 1 inspection, but also includes the area around the chimney, attic space, crawl space, and basement space. This type of inspection is needed for the following: When you sell or buy a new home with a chimney When you need to line your chimney If you change the fuel type burning in the fireplace If there are changes to the materials of which the chimney is made.

LEVEL 3

This is the highest level of inspection and is necessary when structural damage is almost certain. Parts of the chimney may need to be deconstructed so that the inspector can reach and ascertain damage. This will cost you between $1000 and $5000 for the inspection.


Can Clean My chimney On My Own This Winter?

In many cases you can clean your chimney yourself and save a few hundred dollars, however for severe cases we insist that you contact a professional. Regular cleaning with a shop VAC and standard chimney cleaning tools will prevent dangerous creosote fires. Here’s a quick guide. We also recommend that this be done before the winter season begins.

List Of Things You Will Need:


  1. Long-handled brush
  2. Noodle brush
  3. Flashlight
  4. Tarp or drop cloth
  5. tape
  6. Metal bucket
  7. Shovel and broom
  8. Dusk Mask
  9. Flue liner brush
  10. Safety glass
  11. Safety harness
  12. Shop vacuum
  13. Ladder ( Depending on cleaning method).

 STEP 1

For every different sections of the chimney you will require different brushes. So choose the right brush to match the Flue Liner. A metal bristle brush for a clay flue liner and a brush with plastic bristles for a metal liner. You can order these from Home Depot at Amazon Canada. Buy the enough rod to clean the length of the flue.

Step 2

Minimize the Mess: Protect Your Interior
  • Lay a tarp over the base of the chimney and spread it throughout your home.
  • Remember to tape poly sheeting over the fireplace and insert a shop vacuum hose.
  • Seal everything with duct tape.
P.S. can always use your clay chimney flue liner to make flower pots.

STEP 3

Vent To the Outdoors
  • lengthen the vacuum hose, then connect it to your shop vacuum outside.
  • Ensure the vacuum is running while you brush and then replace or clean the filter once its clogged.
  • Before you start brushing, remember to protect your belongings by spreading your tarp and shop vacuum.
  • Close the doors and windows so to prevent the soot from re-entering your home.
So how does Santa get into a house without a chimney? His secret key, of course!

STEP 4


The Cleaning Process: Brush the Flue.
  • Push the specific brush up and down repeatedly in a small section of the flue and monitor the soot that comes out.
  • Use your flashlight to check your work before moving on to the next section.
  • Run your vacuum from top to bottom.
  • Continuing adding length until you can't feel any further blockage.
  • This means you've reached the smoke chamber and should now get off the roof and work from the inside.
  • Pull a small portion of the tarp back and use the long-handled brush to clean the smoke chamber.
  • Use the noodle brush to remove all the soot from the smoke shelf.
  • switch back to the long-handled brush to clean the sides of the firebox.
  • Vacuum the entire firebox to finish up.
  • Fold up the tarp and move them outside.
  • All of these can be reused for the next clean.

 If all this seems like too much for you, especially with winter upon us. click the link and Bridggez will be more than happy to connect you with a chimney cleaning professional.