It's important to regularly clean out a chimney to reduce the risk of fire. Creosote and soot can accumulate and build up on the chimney walls, which reduce the draft that's needed by the stove or fireplace. This will cause the smoke to blow out of the opening or door instead. Creosote is highly flammable and can easily cause a chimney fire, which can spread quickly throughout your home. With the right cleaning tools, you can prevent this build-up from happening.
A chimney brush helps keep the creosote and soot out. This, in turn, can prevent fires from happening. There are different types of brushes for different types of chimneys. Measure the inner dimensions of the fireplace or woodstove chimney in order to determine what size brush is appropriate. There are also three types of bristles on chimney brushes. Wire-bristle chimney brushes are the most common to use, except for metal chimney flues. Flat-wire bristle chimney brushes are stiffer and can scrape off glazed-on creosote. Poly chimney brushes are stiff, which makes them difficult to use in a very dirty chimney. There is a prefab poly version that is more flexible for such jobs. The poly and prefab poly brushes are made for metal chimneys since they won't scratch the walls.
Along with chimney brushes, chimney rods are used to clean the flue. They come in several sizes and types, each one having a specific use. There are fibreglass rods, Proflex poly rods, Prokleen steel rods and nylon rods. The fibreglass rods are stiff, which makes them perfect for cleaning out light to medium creosote build-up. Both the nylon rods and the Proflex poly rods are too flexible for chimneys with heavy creosote build-up, and are for light cleanup only. The Prokleen rods are the stiffest and are ideal for heavy creosote cleaning.
Ash buckets are necessary for collecting and disposing of ashes. Ash buckets make the removal and cleanup easier and safer. Plus, the right bucket will prevent ash from dropping into the house. Ash buckets come in a variety of styles, sizes and types. Most are made of steel or tin. Some buckets even come with a shovel for safer and easier cleanup.
Safety measures should be taken into consideration when cleaning the chimney. It's important to wear the proper eye protection, gloves and an approved dust mask. This will prevent soot and creosote from entering the mouth, ears, nose and eyes while cleaning.
Before cleaning the chimney, cover the fireplace, or woodstove, along with the furniture and rugs. Soot, creosote and other debris from the chimney can damage furniture upholstery. A canvas cover can prevent this from happening. The strong and durable material will prevent debris from seeping in, and won't rip or tear.
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