We’ve started a new year, but enjoying a crackling fire in the fireplace or stove remains a timeless joy – especially in cold Midwest winters. To get the most from this chilly weather escape, you’ll want to maintain a clean and efficient chimney. A well-maintained chimney boasts loads of benefits, from increased safety, greater cleanliness, potential energy savings, and an overall more enjoyable environment.

If a cleaner chimney is in your vision for 2024, here are some steps to put you securely on the path to orderly-chimney bliss. Seeking chimney services near St. Louis? We’re here to help. Call 636-422-5628 or reach out to us online now.

🪵 Use Well Seasoned Wood

If chimney cleanliness was a hero movie, creosote would be the villain. Creosote is a highly combustible substance that can accumulate in the chimney. It results when wood doesn’t burn well – for instance, when it’s damp or green.

Seasoned wood burns more efficiently, thereby producing less smoke, minimizing the risk of chimney fire, and resulting in less build up of nasty creosote in your chimney flue. So prioritize properly dried firewood – and nothing else, since burning paper, cardboard, treated woods, and other non-firewood items can release toxic chemicals and dark smoke.

cut logs piled in front of a brick wall

🔥 Turn Up the Heat

On a related note, hotter fires burn more completely, reducing the amount of unburned particles released into the chimney. The result is a more efficient fire that produces more heat.

How can building a good, hot fire be achieved?

  • Ensure that your damper is open when you’re using your fireplace to get sufficient airflow to the fire.
  • Consider using dense hardwoods. Hardwoods, like apple and oak, will generate more BTUs per cord than softwoods – and burn longer too.
  • Stock up a bit on softwood to help you get the fire going and control your burn.
  • Never use accelerants (or anything other than cured firewood, for that matter) in your fireplace or stove.

🪣 Manage Wood Ash

Staying on top of the amount of ash in your firebox can actually help out your fireplace from bottom to top! Leaving a thin layer of wood ash in place during the burn season will insulate your firebox, which will help you start fires more cleanly and efficiently. A bed of ash an inch or two deep will do the trick.

Diligently scooping ash when it gets any higher maintains the cleanliness of your fireplace. It also prevents accumulated ash from smothering your fires by reducing airflow to logs, which would be counterproductive to chimney cleanliness, as a faltering fire doesn’t burn well.

Once the last fire of the burning season has cooled, however, reduce the level of ash to zero until burn season begins again. You don’t want ash mixing with summer humidity – it can deteriorate your firebox and create unpleasant odors.

❄️ Warm Your Flue

Pre-warming the flue when you plan to use your fireplace helps create an upward draft, creating the ideal pathway for efficient evacuation of smoke and gases. A warmed flue promotes better combustion and reduces the likelihood of smoke lingering in the chimney, contributing to a cleaner and safer environment.

👀 Give it a Once (or Twice) Over

Keep your eyes out for anything out of the ordinary.

Have you noticed a decrease in efficiency or function?

Any cracking or gaps in your brickwork? Missing mortar?

How is your chimney cap or chase cover looking?

Give your chimney, fireplace or stove  an occasional visual scan, from firebox to grate to chimney exterior. If you notice anything concerning, consult your chimney maintenance company for advice – even if it’s not quite time yet for your annual chimney inspection.

a masonry chimney with smoke coming out of the top

☎️ Call in the Professionals

Scheduling routine chimney sweepings is a must if your home boasts a chimney system. Even with careful use, chimneys will amass soot, creosote, and potentially other blockages over time. In order for your chimney to continue to function properly and safely, these will need to be removed.

Chimney sweep technicians have the technical experience, knowledge, and tools to access and sweep areas of a chimney system that can be difficult to access otherwise. A bonus? Professionals can identify and address issues that could hinder efficiency and become worse with time unaddressed, saving you time and money in the long run.

English Sweep Is Here To Help

Maintaining a tidy chimney system involves a combination of conscientious practices and regular professional maintenance. By doing things like creating hot fires with cured firewood and excellent ventilation, pre-warming the flue, and staying on top of maintenance needs, you can enjoy the warmth of your fireplace and other home heating appliances to the utmost.

If your chimney needs a little professional TLC, we’re only a phone call away. Our technicians are knowledgeable, customer service oriented, and committed to safety and professionalism. You can count on us to help you keep your chimney in tip-top shape inside and out.

A cleaner and properly maintained chimney is in reach, so commit to making your chimney tidy, efficient, and obstruction free in 2024! Call or book online now.