When it comes to cleaning the chimneys, it’s hard not to imagine a singing and dancing Dick Van Dyke and his unique interpretation of a Cockney accent walking through time across the rooftops of London in “Mary Poppins”.
And while the profession is not anymore associated to orphans and child labor, Chimney sweeps still exists. In fact, they play an important role in the safety of the home, helping to reduce the number of chimney fires—who, according to to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), is a average of more than 20,000 each year.
But while professional chimney cleaning and inspection is recommended once a year – or about once every 80 fires – there are plenty of other things you can (and should) do to prepare your chimney for. the winter season (in addition to professional cleaning). Here’s what to know, courtesy of two articles to BobVila.com.
Make sure there is a clear path for the smoke
If you live somewhere with trees, remove all branches located directly above the fireplace. “Not only do tree branches present a fire hazard, but they can also restrict the proper draft of the chimney and damage the hat,” Donna Boyle Schwartz writing.
Get rid of the ashes
Before you start using your fireplace again, make sure that all of the ash left over from the last time you used it is removed. “Clean the fireplace once a week, or whenever the ash is more than an inch deep,” according to Schwartz. Sweep up or vacuum up the ashes (which should still be completely cooled at this point) and dispose of them outside your home, ideally in a compost heap or garden bed, if you have one or more. other.
Refuel and store plenty of wood (if your fireplace uses it)
Some fires burn cleaner than others, so make it easier on yourself this winter by getting the supplies you need ahead of time. According to Schwartz, hardwoods like oak, maple and birch are preferable to softwoods like pine because they burn hotter and longer. You can also use CSIA approved fire logs, like Duraflame or Pres-to-Logs.
Dried twigs or branches make the best (and safest) kindling, Manasa Reddigari wrote, adding that the fabric should be avoided as it produces a lot of smoke.
As long as we are talking about wood, never burn treated wood or painted wood, as this produces dangerous fumes. And as tempting as it may be to stack firewood inside your house, Schwartz says this is not the best idea, as it can attract and / or bring pests indoors.