Suppose you are thinking about going DIY on your furnace, pause and think if it is a good idea. Can you clean your ventilation system yourself? Yes. Should you be cleaning it yourself? Not entirely.
Homeowners can do some chute upkeep, but you need a professional outlook for a detailed analysis and cleaning. This should be done by a certified technician at least once a year.
There a few things you can do on your own to maintain your vent systems:
You need to look for the signs of erosion or damage to the whole hearth system. Here are some of the expected points that get affected due to moisture, creosote, and another natural phenomenon:
- Look for erosion on mortar joints
- Look for rust around the fireplace
- Look for any damage to the flue system
If the mortar joints are not fixed as soon as possible, the moisture slowly enters the bricks or the building material, causing spalling.
Spalling is when water enters stone structures and causes structural damage by creating fractures along the surface.
Rusty fireplaces are signs that the moisture in your house is not correctly ventilating. This can cause all sorts of masonry problems.
If you find pieces of a flue in your fireplace, it means that some factor is causing damage to the flue system.
You can also figure out if something is wrong with the chute by looking at the vent top. If the rain cap is deformed, it means that there was a fire incident at the top, possibly caused by creosote.
Brushing a Chute by Yourself
If you think that you can save a few dollars by maintaining the smaller irregularities, then you can do the following simple tasks:
- Get a metal bristle brush (for clay flue liner) and a brush for plastic bristles (for metal liner)
- Rods that span the length of the chute tube and used for air-duct purification
- Get a bendable “noodle” brush for the smoke shelf and a long-handled brush for soot removal from the sides of the firebox and general clean purposes
If the soot is turning into a glaze, you should immediately contact a local expert service, such as ourselves. Contact us at 347 -990- 2756 to book your slot now.
A Guide to Self-Preservation
If you do decide to scrape the creosote yourself, here is what you can do to maintain your heating systems:
- Spread out the plastic tarp on the floor surrounding the fireplace
- Remove ash and stray wood pieces from the firebox.
- After that, open the damper.
- You need to isolate your fireplace from the rest of the room. Use thick plastic sheets or tarp and seal the front of the fireplace. You can use duct tape to close it completely.
- Ensure that there are no gaps. This is an extremely crucial step, so double-check before proceeding. Ensure that there is no opening within the house that can cause a sudden draft to blow and sabotage the sanitation process.
- Wear your protective gear, including face mask and eyewear
- Get to the top of your residential building, and open the cap.
- Use the broad brush to clean the walls from above.
- Clean the smoke shelf, i.e., the area behind the damper
- Carefully clean the flue thoroughly.
- Allow the dust to settle in before peeling a small opening in the taped seal over the fireplace front and scouring the interior using the smaller brushes. Again, wait for the dust to settle in.
- Using a small hand-held vacuum, thoroughly clean the room, the fireplace, and the flue interior you can reach
Trying to clean the vent yourself might seem like a great money-saving tip, but it gets overpriced because of the nature of tools you need to purchase. In case of an unforeseen event, the insurance companies demand to see annual check-ups and scourings, which can only be done by certified individuals or a team. This is why we recommend that you leave the job in the hands of those who know how to do it effectively, at affordable prices.
Protecting the Hearth
- Ensuring dust does not accumulate while performing the hood cleaning
- Maintaining a quick sweep every three to four months for removal of dust and debris and preventing clogs
- Putting a large heavy-duty tarp over on the outside of the vent opening during inactive periods
- Ensuring you have a commercial hand-held vacuum to clean the insides as well as the debris that falls inside the house
- Brushing the inside of the flue lining can expose the person to harmful materials that must not be directly inhaled
- Always make sure that you are wearing a professional-grade respirator mask
- Ensure that the technicians are wearing a mask as well
- Protect the floor of the kitchen by laying massive tarps. You can also cover other appliances with tarps if you think the dust can affect them in any way
- Understand that getting to the roof of any residential or commercial area to clean the firebox would require ladders’ help, which can be dangerous if unsupervised. Always make sure that high places have fall protection, even for the technicians
- It is helpful to keep a log of the scouring and condition reviewing processes