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Need to schedule? Here’s some important appointment tips!

There is nothing more enjoyable than relaxing in front of a fire! However, whether they burn gas, wood, or pellets, our fireplaces need regular care and maintenance in order to work their best.Model person holding plan ahead sign

One of the best ways to keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently is by having an annual chimney sweeping. Chimney sweeping can help remove soot, ash, and creosote, as well as any blockages or buildup in the flue. Once you schedule your chimney sweeping appointment, the following tips can help ensure your home and fireplace are ready.

Appointment tips during Covid-19

At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, we are aware of the current coronavirus (Covid-19) health concerns. Because we live in the same communities we serve, the health and safety of our employees and customers remain our top priority. We are still accepting and scheduling appointments, but have put extra precautions both internally and externally into place to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Safety precautions such as sanitizing equipment in between appointments, wearing additional protective equipment such as gloves, regularly washing hands and using hand sanitizer, and avoiding handshakes have been put into place. As of right now, we are open for business as usual! We will update our customers to any changes in services as they arrive.

When should I schedule my chimney sweeping?

Anytime is the right time for a chimney sweeping! October through January are the peak season for chimney sweeps; during this season, appointments can book as much as a month in advance. For this reason, we recommend that customers book non-emergency services in the offseason. Spring and summer months are our low season; booking appointments during this time of year can help ensure you get an appointment time that is quick and convenient with your schedule!

How can I prepare for my appointment?

Booking the appointment is just the first step; there are a number of things homeowners can do to ensure their house to have the chimney swept! The following are 5 things you can do to prepare for your chimney sweeping appointment.

  1. Move furniture or valuables: As chimney sweeps, our priority is always to leave your home in the same condition we found it! To prevent ash and soot from staining any furnishings, we ask that homeowners move and furniture or valuables within six feet of the fireplace. This includes rolling up rugs or pushing sofas and couches away from the fireplace. If there are furnishings that cannot be moved, consider covering them with an old sheet as a safeguard against any stray soot. While modern chimney sweeping is done with industrial tools that prevent most dust from escaping into the room, we want to safeguard your home as much as possible!
  2. Clear off the mantle: If you have framed photos, candlesticks, knick-knacks, or other décor on your mantle, we ask that you remove it before your chimney technician arrives. In addition to preventing your items from being damaged, removing mantle décor allows the chimney technician to work faster.
  3. Stop using the fireplace 24 hours in advance: Please refrain from using your fireplace for at least 24 hours before your appointment. Doing so ensures that all of the fireplace components are cool and safe to touch; this allows technicians to safely clean and inspect all accessible portions of the chimney. Likewise, please remove any remaining ash or wood from the firebox; this allows our technicians to work quickly and helps prevents furnishings or carpets from being stained as well!
  4. Crate pets: We love pets! Meeting new four-legged friends is one of the favorite parts of our job. However, we ask homeowners to crate pets or put them in a secure room while the chimney is being swept. During a sweeping and inspection, our technicians frequently go in and out of the house. Likewise, our equipment and tools make strange noises and can be a little scary to many pets! Having them securely crated prevents your fur baby from accidentally escaping while we are servicing your chimney.
  5. Forward schedule your next appointment: We schedule appointments with our doctors and dentists in advance – why not schedule with your chimney sweep in advance as well? Forward scheduling, or scheduling your next appointment at the end of your current appointment, is the best way to ensure your fireplace is receiving regular maintenance. Not only does this help you get the appointment date and time that is most convenient for you and your schedule, but it also means you have one less thing to worry about! Worried you won’t remember when you schedule your appointment? Don’t worry – we send out reminders! As a courtesy to our customers, we mail reminders for annual appointments, as well as confirm all appointments by phone 24 hours in advance.
  6. Don’t forget your other appliances!: At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, we can clean more than just your fireplace flue – we also clean dryer vents! Dryer vent cleaning is an important, but often forgotten, part of home maintenance. The same lint that accumulates in the lint trap can accumulate in dryer vents over time; removing this highly flammable lint during dryer vent cleaning can help reduce the risk of dryer fire. Likewise, dryer vent cleaning can help dryers operate more efficiently. If your dryer performance is decreasing, try cleaning the dryer vent before purchasing a new appliance!
  7. Be ready to ask questions: Our chimney technicians are highly trained, certified professionals. In addition to our commitment to chimney safety, we also love educating our customers about the ins and outs of their fireplace system. Want to know what firewood burns more efficiently? Don’t know how to adjust the temperature on your gas fireplace? Have questions about fireplace performance issues? Our chimney technicians are here to help!

At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, we are committed to providing our customers with the best chimney sweeping experience possible. If you have questions about how to prepare your home for your next chimney sweeping or inspection, contact us today!

Are You Starting A Fire Correctly?

Sitting in front of a roaring fire is one of the most comforting – and warm – places to be during cold winter weather. However, getting a fire started is often the most difficult part of the process.

Many their best efforts, many homeowners are incorrectly starting their fires. This not only causes frustration, but can also lead to fires that burn sluggishly, need constant stoking, or burn out prematurely.

The following tips will help you start a fire correctly. While it may be different from how you’ve started fires in the past, following these tips can help you spend less time building your fire and more time enjoying it with family and friends.

1. Get the right materials

Are You Starting A Fire Correctly - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps MILong before you think about lighting your fire, it is important to make sure you have the right materials. The type of firewood you use can not only affect how well your fires start, but can also create different amounts of smoke and heat. While different people may prefer different firewood varieties, seasoned firewood should be used whenever possible. Seasoned wood, which has been allowed to cure and dry for at least six months, has much lower moisture content than freshly cut wood. These allow it to burn hotter and produce less smoke and creosote.

In addition to finding the right firewood, homeowners also need kindling to help start the fire. Softwoods such as cedar, fir, or pine are able to ignite quickly and can burn until the larger logs catch fire. Small bundles of twigs and sticks can have the same effect. While newspaper can be used, it often burns too quickly to ignite larger logs; for this reason, using smaller pieces of wood is preferable.

2. Open the damper

When the fireplace is in use, the damper needs to be open – even when starting a fire or waiting for it to extinguish. Leaving the damper even partially closed can cause smoke and dangerous gasses such as carbon monoxide [] to back up into the home.

If you’re having problems with smoke backing up into your home even when the damper is open, your home may be too airtight. Cracking a window even a few inches near the fireplace can help the fireplace vent better and prevent this from happening. Likewise, opening a window can have another unexpected benefit; letting more oxygen into your home can provide more “fuel to the fire,” creating a hotter and more efficient burn.

3. Try a top down fire

Building a top down fire can greatly impact how your fires burn, as well as how much you’ll need to stoke it. Place the largest logs on the bottom of the grate with the ends to the front and back; doing this creates better oxygen flow to the fire and keeps the fire from smoldering or burning sluggishly. Fill the fireplace with gradually smaller and smaller logs, topping the pile with kindling. As the smaller logs burn they ignite the logs underneath them, keeping the fire going and minimizing the need for stoking or rearranging logs.

Following these three fireplace tips can help you better start – and enjoy – your fires. For more information on getting the most out of your fireplace, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan at 734-668-4780 today!

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