Saturday, October 2, 2010

You Too Can Clean Your Chimney!

Today sure was a trying day here on the farm. There was much work to be done, lousy weather to do it in and differing opinions of what tasks take priority. And the timing; when these tasks should be accomplished had to be an issue too. To say the least, it was a tiring and taxing day for all, but most of the work got done and there is always tomorrow for the rest. I find peace in that. I am grateful to even have this land to raise my children on, so there is no use in quarreling over the small stuff. I wish I could remember that when we are in the midst of it though.

Oh, and did I mention that BOTH kids skipped their naps! 

Anyways, we decided that today was the day to get serious about cleaning the chimney. For those of you who don't know yet, we use a wood burner as our source of heat. This will be our second full winter using it and we agreed early on in the year, that this past summer we had to clean the chimney for the first time....Well, here we are, October 2nd and still have a dirty chimney. These cool autumn nights have me yearning for the warm glow of a fire (not to mention the heat!) but this job must be done first; weather we do it ourselves or pay someone to do it. And the later in the year it gets the better it sounds to just pay someone to get the job done.

.....James decided today that he was going to do it.

Now, I don't imagine that cleaning a chimney is that hard of a job, it's just running a bush down a chimney, how hard is that. So, it must be super, extra dirty and dingy and yucky. Otherwise, why would so many people pay someone to do it. When I think of sweeping chimneys, I think of the sweepers in Mary Poppins. Dirty and sooty and I definitely did not want my house like that. I imagine a plume of black soot billowing out of my firebox into my home, filling it with a thick black film. Ok, or if not that, at least plumes out the top of the chimney, right? I wanted to pay someone to do this job, at least the first time. Watch and learn. But no, James was going to do it.....

To my surprise, there was no soot in the house at all, nor on the roof! James did get a little dirty and I did see the soot fall down into the firebox, but it doesn't plume all over the room like I envisioned. It didn't even escape the firebox. What did I learn today? That cleaning your own chimney is easy and economical! You, yes even you, can do it! =) 

But, if you don't want to do it yourself, and you do use your fireplace or burner, get it cleaned for sure! A chimney fire is a very real and dangerous threat to your home. I have been telling James that we would have a very chilly winter, meaning no fires at all, until ours was cleaned period. That is one issue I would not budge on!

Ok, so the ins and outs of cleaning your own chimney....=)
1) find out the diameter of your chimney and if it is square or round...Then the approximate length of the chimney from the fire box to the top of it.
2) Buy a brush and rods that fit your chimney diameter and length. I called all of the local fireplace stores to purchase from a local business (we feel very strongly about supporting our local businesses), and the local stores wanted more then double for the exact same item that was being sold at the nearest big box chain store..sadly, we ended up at the box store.
3) clean your chimney! I know i am making this sound to simple but really it is. Just attach the rods to your brush (the rods come in 4 ft sections, so they need to be connected together first obviously), and get on your roof, take the cap off and go to town.  Oh yes, open the damper so the soot can fall into the box.
ready to keep us warm this winter =)

This is one job that must be done and I am proud to say that it is one that we can do for ourselves; one that my mother remembers my grandfather doing for himself. We are a little more self sufficient here on the farm and it feels so good. I am glad to rely on one less company or person to do a task that is simple to do ourselves, if we just take the time to do it.  I love it here on Dew Thyme Farm, everyday is a new learning and growing experience...

Thanks for coming to visit! Oh yes...and the bread I served you today with the pear butter.....that was made fresh today too. Thanks for having a slice ;)

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