How Often Should You Clean Your Fireplace?

Keeping a fireplace brings your home to the next level of coziness, but maintaining one is a serious chore! Our thorough research would help you see how to keep your fireplace clean and safe without causing too much hassle. 

To ensure the safety of your fireplace, it is recommended to clean it when:

  • You notice a chimney sweep log and other unusual signs on your fireplace.
  • You have been using the fireplace for a year. 
  • Cold weather is about to come. 

Determine the best time for you to clean your fireplace. If it needs an urgent clean-up, prepare your tools to get rid of the dirt. For the best experience, plan a schedule for cleaning it once a year. 

Yet still, how would you know if you should take action to clean the fireplace? It is where the exciting part begins - find out now as we unravel the clues on when and how you need to clean your fireplace. 

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How do you know if your fireplace needs cleaning?

Experts revealed the tell-tale signs of needing to clean your fireplace. Review the list below and see if you have observed these things while using your chimney:

  • The fireplace smells like a campfire. Unlike the fresh, clean fireplace, a campfire has the distinct odor of burned wood when it isn’t lit. If it has this smell that scrapes out of your nose, it might be caused by the stacked burned wood inside.
  • It’s too difficult to start the fire. Due to a clogged chimney, the fire cannot get the oxygen needed to ignite. As a result, the airflow is compromised, preventing it from quickly lighting up.
  • Smoke fills the room. As you open the flue, the smoke invades the space.
  • The walls have scattered oily marks. If you see oily spots on your fireplace, it’s a sign of creosote presence, a type of soot forming inside the chimney that may cause a full-on blaze fire.
  • The fireplace damper has creosote build-up. The dark tar-like creosote can reach up to the damper, making it more dangerous to fire up your chimney. Once you notice how creosote clings to the damper, start getting rid of it right away.

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If you encounter one or two signs indicated above, it is the best time to clean them up! However, if you did not experience any of them, it would still be best to schedule your annual fireplace maintenance day! 

What happens if you don't clean your fireplace?

Others might say they have been using their chimneys without cleaning them for a long time, but it still works perfectly. Anyhow, it is still sufficient to perform. But then, an unmaintained fireplace can potentially cause several breathing problems - or worse, a fire not just around the fireplace, but it could become a house fire! 

Remember, the creosote present in your home becomes highly flammable as days pass. Your chimney could even top 2,000 degrees! That’s why not cleaning your fireplace might lead to a broader, more dangerous problem. It might turn your simple warmer into a big burner! 

Should you clean a fireplace after each use?

A fireplace with firewood underneath the fireplace

The creosote build-up might scare you the most, thinking it might be formed after every use. Don’t worry; it takes months for creosote to coat your fireplace walls. In this way, you are not required to clean after each use. 

Here are a few of the suggested schedules for you to clean your fireplace:

  • According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), you can clean your chimney if you notice ⅛ inches of creosote. So, if you do not use your fireplace more often, the formed creosote might not be too thickened. 
  • The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests cleaning the fireplace annually. It helps to swipe all unnecessary formations on your fireplace walls. Moreover, it prevents animals from trying to jump inside. 
  • You could also prepare your fireplace before the winter starts. It allows you to enjoy a fresh, cleaned chimney without any nests or debris. It even helps you create fire quickly! How convenient would it be, right?

Whether you plan to clean them annually or before winter, you surely need to prepare yourself! Why? It requires your time, money, and effort to maintain your gorgeous, warm fireplace. So, could you do the cleaning yourself or ask for a professional?

Is it safe to clean your own chimney?

If you are willing to do the dirty work, you can surely clean your fireplace. You may start by brushing the walls of your chimney from top to bottom. Then, you can sweep off the developed oil marks and creosote on the sides. You may also need to clean the fireplace itself, including the airways.

To make the job more efficient, you can use tools such as climbing ladders, bristle brushes, rods, vacuum cleaners, and other cleaning materials. For your own safety, please wear goggles and a mask. This personal protective equipment prevents you from the harmful dust from the chimney.

But remember, this is a serious task of swiping the thick, tar-like creosote, making it extra challenging. That’s why most homeowners seek help from experts to clean their fireplaces correctly. 

Why are chimney experts the best to clean your fireplace?

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Asking for professional help not just lifts the burden for you but it makes the job faster and more effective. Chimney experts have the skills to get this work done for you. Furthermore, they are more experienced in cleaning in the quickest and simplest ways! 

Cleaning a fireplace could be challenging and dangerous, but chimney experts are highly equipped with the tools and expertise. Another thing - reaching out to them saves up more cost than obtaining all the necessary cleaning tools. Most importantly, you don’t need to worry about maintaining your fireplace as experts are handling it.

Keep your fireplace maintained

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Schedule a quick check-up of your fireplace with chimney experts near you. Once they recommend cleaning it up, plan ahead for your annual fireplace maintenance. In this way, you will indeed have a safe and sound time sitting by your warm, clean home. 

Looking for other great tips on maintaining your fireplace? Check out our related articles:

How Often Should You Add Wood To A Fire In Fireplace?

How To Insulate Behind A Fireplace

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