If you have a fireplace insert, cleaning the chimney is a job you can do yourself. It’s not difficult, but it does require some safety precautions. In this article, we’ll walk you how to clean a chimney with a fireplace insert. We’ll also provide some tips on how to stay safe while doing so. Keep reading to learn more.
What Causes Chimney Gets Dirty?
The main cause of a dirty chimney is creosote buildup. Creosote is a byproduct of burning wood. It’s a sticky, flammable substance that can build up on the walls of your chimney. Over time, this buildup can become thick and hard to remove. If it’s not removed, it can eventually catch fire. Another cause of dirty chimneys is soot. Soot is a fine, powdery substance that’s created when wood burns. It can also build up on the walls of your chimney and be difficult to remove.
Other causes of chimney dirtiness include bird’s nests and leaves. If there’s a hole in your chimney, birds may be able to build a nest inside. This can block the flue and cause problems. Finally, leaves can fall into your chimney and cause a blockage.
Is It Important to Clean a Chimney?
Yes, it’s important to clean your chimney regularly. A dirty chimney can be a fire hazard. It can also cause smoke to enter your home, which can be a health hazard. In general, you should have your chimney cleaned once a year. However, if you use your fireplace frequently, you may need to have it cleaned more often. It’s also a good idea to have your chimney inspected by a professional every few years.
12 Easy Ways on How to Clean a Chimney With a Fireplace Insert:
1. Gather Your Supplies
The first step is to gather the supplies you’ll need. This includes a stiff brush, a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment, and a pail. You may also need a ladder, depending on the height of your chimney. Next, try to find a brush that’s specifically designed for cleaning chimneys. This will make the job easier.
2. Remove the Fireplace Insert
Next, you’ll need to remove the fireplace insert. This is usually just a matter of lifting it out. First, make sure that the fire is completely extinguished, and the insert is cool to the touch. Then, look for any screws or bolts that are holding it in place. Once you’ve removed all of the fasteners, you should be able to lift the insert out easily. If you have any trouble, consult your owner’s manual.
3. Vacuum the Chimney
Once the insert is removed, it’s time to start cleaning. Begin by vacuuming the inside of the chimney. Use the hose attachment to reach all of the nooks and crannies. Make sure to move the vacuum slowly so that you don’t miss any spots. If you have a lot of creosote buildup, you may need to vacuum more than once.
4. Brush the Chimney
After vacuuming, it’s time to brush the chimney. Use a stiff brush specifically designed for cleaning chimneys. Start at the top of the chimney and work your way down, using long strokes. Be sure to brush the entire inner surface of the chimney. If you have a particularly stubborn buildup of soot, you may need to use a wire brush. If you do use a wire brush, be careful not to damage the chimney lining.
5. Scrub the Chimney Walls
Once you’ve brushed the chimney, it’s time to scrub the walls. You can use a wire brush or a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the walls. First, sweep the brush up the chimney from the bottom to the top. Then, sweep the brush down the chimney from top to bottom. Repeat this process until the chimney walls are clean. If you’re having trouble reaching the top of the chimney, you can use a ladder.
6. Vacuum the Chimney Again
After scrubbing the chimney walls, vacuum the chimney again. This will remove any loose soot or debris. Try to get as much of the debris out of the chimney as possible. If you have a fireplace insert, you may need to remove it in order to vacuum the chimney properly.
7. Wash the Chimney
Once you’ve vacuumed and brushed the chimney, it’s time to wash it. Fill a pail with warm water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, and use a sponge to scrub the entire surface of the chimney. Rinse the sponge often to avoid re-depositing soot on the chimney. Once you’ve scrubbed the entire chimney, rinse it with clean water from a hose.
8. Use a Chimney Balloon
You can use a chimney balloon if you don’t want to go through the hassle of cleaning your chimney. A chimney balloon is a device that you insert into your chimney flue. It seals off the opening so that no air can get in or out. This will prevent any smoke or odors from entering your home. Using a chimney balloon won’t need to worry about cleaning your chimney for the entire season.
9. Clean the Chimney Cap
The chimney cap is located at the top of the chimney. It helps to keep debris and animals out of the chimney. Over time, the chimney cap can become covered in soot and debris. To clean it, first, remove any loose debris with a brush. Then, scrub the chimney cap with a sponge and soapy water. Rinse it off with clean water from a hose. If the chimney cap is very dirty, you may need to use a wire brush.
10. Wash Smoke Chamber
The smoke chamber is located just above the firebox. It’s where smoke and hot gases collect before they are vented out of the chimney. To clean the smoke chamber, remove any soot and debris from the surface. Then, use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the interior walls. Once you’ve removed all of the soot and debris, rinse the smoke chamber with a hose or a damp cloth. Be sure to dry it completely before using your fireplace again.
11. Clean the Damper
The damper is located at the bottom of the chimney. A metal plate opens and closes to allow smoke and gases to enter the chimney. To clean the damper, remove any soot and debris from the surface of the damper. Next, use a stiff brush to scrub the inside of the damper. Finally, wipe down the outside of the damper with a damp cloth.
12. Inspect and Repair Your Chimney
Once you’ve cleaned your chimney, it’s important to inspect it for any damage. Look for cracks, holes, or other signs of damage. If you find any damage, it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in serious problems, such as a chimney fire. If you’re not sure how to inspect your chimney, you can hire a professional to do it for you.
How Much Does It Cost to Clean a Chimney?
The cost of cleaning a chimney depends on the size and type of chimney you have. For a typical chimney, the cost ranges from $100 to $300. If you have a fireplace insert, the cost may be higher. In some cases, you may be able to clean the chimney yourself. However, it’s always best to hire a professional if you’re not sure how to do it.
Tips and Warnings on How to Clean a Chimney With a Fireplace Insert
- Always use a certified chimney sweep to clean your chimney.
- If you have a gas fireplace, make sure to shut the gas off before beginning the cleaning process.
- Cover any carpets or furniture near the fireplace with a drop cloth to protect them from soot and debris.
- Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Put a bucket under the fireplace to catch any debris that falls during the cleaning process.
- Use a small brush to remove any soot from the fireplace insert.
- Never attempt to clean a chimney yourself if you are not trained to do so.
- Be sure to open the damper before beginning the cleaning process, or else all
- the debris will go into your home.
- Never use a power washer to clean your chimney, as this can damage the bricks.
- Avoid using any chemicals to clean your chimney, as they can be corrosive and dangerous.
- Don’t forget to close the damper when you’re finished cleaning, or else cold air will come into your home.
So, there you have it, your step-by-step guide on how to clean a chimney with a fireplace insert. It’s not as daunting as it may seem, and by following these simple steps, you can rest assured that your chimney is clean and safe for use this winter. Have any questions about the process? Leave them in the comments below, and we’ll be happy to help!