Homeowners whose homes have fireplaces understand that a little more maintenance goes into autumn prep work for their homes than for those homeowners without fireplaces. Readying the fireplace for another season of use requires some upkeep.
A clean fireplace and chimney is the best defense against hazardous conditions that can cause a chimney or home fire. For those who did not clean their chimneys in the spring after extensive winter use, it is imperative to handle cleaning prior to lighting your first fire in the coming winter.
Chimney cleaning can be a do-it-yourself job. Rods and brushes can cost as much as $150, depending on where you live. That is roughly equivalent to the cost of hiring a professional chimney sweep once. But if you have a fear of heights or prefer not to climb up on the roof to inspect the chimney, you may just want to hire a professional.
When cleaning your chimney, first place plastic sheeting in the fireplace and around the opening to the fireplace inside the home. Then climb up on the roof and remove the chimney cap inspecting the chimney for soot and creosote, which tends to be thickest at the mouth of the chimney where it will cool and stick to the inside of the masonry. Use the correct size brush for your chimney to make adequate surface contact to sweep out the debris. Go inside and clean up the residual mess, then reach up into the chimney from the fireplace side and remove any other soot before moving into the basement (or wherever the chimney reaches the bottom) to remove any soot that has dropped from that area as well.
Cleaning a chimney is a messy task that will take some work, but it is a task that needs to be done to safeguard a home before the arrival of winter.