Chimney cleaning is an important part of fire prevention and should be done annually. Professional chimney sweeps are certified by the National Fireplace Institute and the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and they use heavy metal bristle brushes to clean the chimney. They also wear gloves, goggles, and masks to protect against soot and ash. A professional chimney sweep will clean from the bottom to the combustion chamber, smoke chamber damper, smoke platform, and chimney lining.
They will also inspect for soot buildup, blockages, cracks in the chimney liner, and signs of water damage. Cleaning a chimney can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, so it's best to hire a professional. In addition to cleaning the chimney, a professional can also inform homeowners of the correct combustion techniques to prevent fires. If you plan to remodel your fireplace, it's a good idea to clean it first so that debris doesn't ruin the paint.
Regular inspection and cleaning with a chimney sweep can help minimize major problems and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning due to improper exhaust. Before lighting your fireplace this season, make sure you have it properly cleaned and inspected by a professional.