5 Tips To Prepare For Chimney Sweeping

Creosote and soot buildup in your chimney is a major concern since a dirty chimney increases the risk of a fire. It's necessary to schedule an annual cleaning if you use your fireplace regularly during the winter season. You can make the process go much more smoothly by preparing your home ahead of the chimney sweep's arrival. 

1. Keep It Cool

Your chimney sweeper will need to access the chimney and fireplace during the cleaning process. To ensure proper cleaning and to prevent injury to the service technician, avoid using the fireplace for 24 hours prior to the cleaning appointment. This ensures everything inside the hearth and chimney is cool and safe to touch. Your appointment may need to be rescheduled if the chimney is still hot from recent use.

2. Provide Exterior Access

The chimney sweeper must be able to access the chimney from the home's exterior, especially if you have scheduled an inspection in conjunction with the cleaning. Move any outdoor items, including things like plant trellises, that may prevent full access to the chimney area outside of the home. Overgrown plants and landscaping may also need to be cut back and the debris cleared in order to improve access.

3. Clear the Hearth

It's equally important to clear the hearth area inside the home, both to ease access and to protect your belongings. Remove all items from the mantle and take down anything, such as artwork or a television, that is hanging on the wall above the fireplace. Items on the hearth, such as fireplace tools and decorative items, should also be cleared so they aren't in the way. Rugs or hearth mats may also need to be removed so that they don't slip underfoot during the cleaning.

4. Cover the Furniture

Ideally, there will be room to move the furniture back so that a large area around the hearth can be cleared. This doesn't just ease access to the hearth, it also makes damage to your furnishings much less likely. Most chimney services will provide furniture coverings and floor dropcloths to protect against soot and debris stains, or you can cover everything ahead of time using drop cloths or sheets.

5. Prevent Soot Spread

Although every precaution is taken to minimize the amount of soot and debris that actually comes out of the chimney, there may be some that make it into your house—especially if your chimney is long overdue for a thorough sweeping. Closing the air vents and air returns in the room, then taping plastic over them, can ensure that no debris gets into your HVAC system where it can be spread throughout the home.

Contact a chimney cleaning service in your area to learn more.