How To Properly Clean A Fireplace

When the weather outside is cold and frightful, there is nothing quite as comforting as snuggling close to the fireplace. Although the primary function of a fireplace in most homes is to provide much-needed warmth during fall and winter, it also serves as a delightful focal point in the living room. Nonetheless, cleaning the fireplace is necessary whether you are using this spot for decorative or functional purposes. Besides being an eyesore, a poorly maintained fireplace can lead to health hazards. Fluesbrothers Chimney Service mentions that the accumulation of debris and dust in the fireplace and chimney can predispose anyone living in the house to disease-causing allergens. 

Cleaning the fireplace is messy, and leaving the debris and dirt accumulating for far too long makes the work more difficult. Although this home addition doesn't come with a manual indicating how and when to clean, the best time for cleaning the fireplace is whenever the soot buildup gets to ⅛ inches, mentions the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). If you are not sure where to begin as far as cleaning your fireplace is concerned, here is a quick guide that should help you get started.

Cleaning wood-burning fireplaces

Although cleaning the fireplace is not difficult, it is often dirty and needs some elbow grease. So, before you begin, be sure to don your old clothes and also put on protective gear, for instance, face masks, rubber gloves, and the necessary eye protection. With that out of the way, the first order of business is to prep the nearby areas because dust and soot travel and may cause more cleanup to the nearby carpets or furniture. Roll up the carpet and cover the furniture with old sheets. If you have used your fireplace recently, it is a good idea to allow the place to cool off completely before attempting to remove any debris. Using a shovel, remove the debris accumulated on the floor and dump them temporarily in a trash can. 

Clear any remaining soot from the wall using a sweeper, vacuum the space clean, and inspect the conditions of the surface beneath. If necessary, consider doing some repairs, like replacing broken bricks. Here comes the tricky part: Pro Housekeepers recommend using regular homemade cleaning products that involve mixing 3 tablespoons of dish soap or a similar detergent with ½ a cup of baking soda and some water into a paste. Dampen the fireplace's interior with water before lathering the surface with the paste and scraping off the stains and remaining debris with a soft brush. Rinse and allow the surface to dry before repeating the process if necessary.

Don't forget the chimney

When you schedule a fireplace cleaning, consider giving the chimney the same courtesy. According to the National Fire Protection Association, via the Environmental Protection Agency, a dirty chimney is one of the main culprits of home fires, accounting for about 30% of all incidents. Other than that, the chimney is also quite crucial in allowing the fireplace to burn better and more efficiently. Ideally, the best time to clean the chimney is when the fireplace isn't required, preferably during spring or winter. 

Unlike cleaning the fireplace, you will need to call a professional to help tidy up the chimney; they have all the necessary tools and equipment to remove all the debris and soot accumulated over time. What's more, climbing on the roof is quite dangerous. Generally, professional chimney sweeping will cost you between $100 and $5,000, depending on the unique needs of your chimney, per During the process, the professional should also inspect the structure's integrity to ensure that there are no missing bricks and that the chimney cap is intact and in good condition.