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Chimney Sweeping: Maintenance and Regulations

A wood fireplace is synonymous with cozying up and spending quality time. Who doesn’t like to bask in front of a fire and watch the flames dance? But did you know that this pleasure comes with obligations?

Fall is the perfect time to take care of your home, mainly your fireplace. Sweeping it — which consists of removing trapped soot, smoke and gases — will eliminate any bad odors that may occur during the first fires of the season. But that’s not the only advantage!

Why Sweep?

Sweeping is also used to reduce the risk of fire. When burning, the wood leaves stubborn dirt and resin that can ignite. Also, these accumulations can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

When to Do It

Fireplace sweeping must be carried out every year. But if you light fires almost every day during the winter, it’s best to do a second sweep mid-season.

Can I Do This on My Own?

It is not recommended to perform this task on your own. Why? Because to maintain your fireplace effectively, it’s not enough to just sweep, you also need to look at other components such as exhaust systems. These skills are usually held by a licensed contractor (see the Quebec Building Authority Registry to find an expert). On the other hand, you can take care of the sweeping of the chimney before they arrive.

Fireplace Family

Which Brush to Choose?

There are several brushes on the market, but polypropylene brushes are the most common and leave no residue on the walls. They can be suitable for almost all types of chimneys. But if you have a masonry fireplace, it’s best to turn to a steel model. For a prefabricated fireplace, the best choice is stainless steel brushes.

How to Perform A Proper Sweep

It takes time and attention to detail. The walls should be rubbed vigorously as well as the connecting pipes and smoke ducts. If your chimney is new, you should also remove the deflectors to clean them. Still have the manufacturer’s technical guide? Check it out before you start the sweep.

What About Sweeping Logs?

There are logs sold in stores that promise to remove residue and dirt. Be careful: they are not sufficient to ensure safe maintenance. To be certain, only a manual brushing and a visual examination can detect various problems, such as corrosion or irregularities.

Cleaning the Glass

Now that the brushing and verification of the components is done, it’s time to clean the glass with white vinegar, lemon juice, soda crystals or clay stone. Some even put it in the dishwasher at low temperature.

Also, consult your local municipality. Some municipalities have specific rules regarding sweeping. We wish you moments of great relaxation in front of your fireplace!

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