by Karen Bates
(last updated December 5, 2011)
For people with fireplaces in their homes, having the warm glow of a fire indoors can be charming. It can also be a great way to stay warm during the cool months, and this method of heating your home may help save money over other heating methods.
If you have a fireplace that you use regularly, however, it is important that you remember to maintain it. This includes keeping the chimney clean by having it swept from time to time. Chimney sweeping is the process of loosening and removing stuck-on debris that collects inside the chimney to help the fireplace work more efficiently and safely. A chimney that isn't cleaned properly maybe become a potential fire hazard, so it is important that it is swept out according to how often you use it. You should also have a chimney cleaned out if you haven't used the fireplace in a long time to make sure it is safe to operate.
Chimney sweeps are professionals who are knowledgeable about chimney structures and how to correctly clean them out. These technicians can handle various tasks related to your chimney beyond cleaning, such as repairing and inspection. Whether your chimney is due for a cleaning of needs to be fixed before it's ready for use, a chimney sweep should be able to handle the job.
When cleaning your chimney, most chimney sweeps follow a certain process. Depending on the way your chimney was built, they will either work from the bottom up or from the top down. This means the sweep will either work inside your home from the fireplace, or from the roof. Chimney sweeps will use a brush to loosen any soot or creosote from the inside of the chimney. Before doing this, however, they will make sure the interior of your home is protected from messes by laying drop cloths down.
After sweeping, chimney sweeps will use a powerful vacuum to remove the loosened debris from the area. Along with the cleaning, some sweeps also include a basic chimney inspection to let you know how safe the chimney structure is and if it requires repairs.
Although cleaning the chimney is a task you can do yourself, it is quicker and easier to hire a professional chimney sweep to take care of it. Before you hire someone, however, be sure to ask around to compare prices and services so you are aware of your options.
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