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Post Holiday Cleaning

The holidays have come and gone; visiting family has returned home, the presents have been unwrapped, and festive décor has been put back into storage. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind us, now is the time to schedule your chimney cleaning!

Many families use their fireplaces more during the holiday season than at any other time of year. This additional use – coupled with any inappropriate or unsafe materials that may have been thrown into the fire over the holidays – often means that chimneys are ready to be swept and inspected by the time the new year arrives.

How Winter Weather Affects Our Chimneys

The fireplace and chimney are more susceptible to damage in the cold, harsh months of winter than at any other time of year. One of the primary ways that chimneys are damaged during the winter is through the freeze-thaw cycle.

During the freeze-thaw cycle, water is absorbed by tiny holes or cracks in the naturally porous brick. When temperatures drop below freezing, the water turns to ice and expands before melting again when the temperatures warm. This creates progressively larger and larger holes that can create significant structural damage to a chimney in as little as one winter.

Chimney Sweepings Prevent Fires and Improve Efficiency

Having your chimney swept at least once per year is the best way to improve the safety and efficiency of your fireplace. Removing soot, ash, and highly flammable creosote can improve venting and reduce the risk of chimney fire. However, if fireplaces are used daily or as a primary heat source it may need to be swept more. Fireplaces that burn more than one cord of wood during a season should be swept more than once, particularly during the period of heaviest use.

Chimney Inspections Prevent Long-term Damage and Save Money

Most homeowners spend as little time on their roofs as possible, maybe accessing it one to two times per year. This, coupled with a lack of knowledge about the chimney system, can make it nearly impossible to notice chimney damage until a minor issue has turned into a major one.

A damaged or deteriorating chimney can affect your home in a number of ways. Cracked and damaged masonry can fall off, causing damage to your home or roofing materials; gaps or cracks in the masonry can also allow water, debris, and even animals into the chimney, further damaging the chimney system. Damaged chimneys may also vent incorrectly, increasing the risk of serious air quality issues including carbon monoxide poisoning.

An annual inspection by a certified chimney sweep can help uncover chimney issues that may otherwise go unnoticed. By identifying areas of damage when they are still small, the chimney can often be easily repaired. As part of your regular chimney maintenance, a chimney sweeping can prevent you from being blindsided by chimney or fireplace repairs in the future.

Start the year off right by scheduling your next chimney cleaning. Contact the expert staff at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today to schedule your next chimney sweeping or inspection to get your year started with a clean, safe fireplace system.

National Fire Prevention Week October 8-14

As fireplace professionals, the safety of our clients is one of our top priorities. At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, we are happy to help our friends and neighbors learn more about protecting themselves and their families during National Fire Prevention Week October 8-14, 2017.

Every Second Counts – Plan Two Ways Out

The theme of National Fire Prevention Week 2017 is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.” What is the aim of this campaign? Helping families better prepare for what to do in case of a fire emergency in the home!

According to a recent survey by the NFPA, only one third of American families had developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Likewise, only 8% of respondents said their first thought on hearing a fire alarm would be “Get out!”

By creating – and practicing – a home fire escape plan, families can feel more confident that they can safely react in the event of an emergency. While these escape plans are important for all families to enact, they are especially important for those with young children. The sights, sounds, and smells of a house fire can be extremely scary and disorienting to children! Practicing the home fire escape plan at least twice a year can give children the confidence to escape on their own if necessary.

Practicing Fireplace Safety

Fireplaces are an excellent way to heat our homes and creating a warm and welcoming ambiance. However, they can be dangerous when not used or maintained properly. The following safety tips can help ensure you are using your fireplace safely and help prevent accidental fires.


  • Have the chimney swept at least once per year.
    The primary cause of heating equipment fires is failure to clean, including creosote buildup in chimneys. Having the chimney swept at least once per year ensures it is clean and free from blockages. Doing this significantly reduces the risk of house or chimney fire.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
    Even small home fires should never be left unattended. This is especially important in homes with pets or small children. Glass doors or fireplace grates can also be used as a way to keep everyone safe from burns while still enjoying the fire.
  • Keep décor away from the fireplace.
    Carpets and other home furnishings should be kept at least three feet away from the fireplace while in use; this includes hanging mantle décor such as stockings during the holiday season. Keeping furnishings away from the fireplace protects them from burn and scorch marks. More importantly, it also reduces the risk of a stray spark or ember starting a fire.
  • Remove and store ashes properly.
    Coals surrounded by ash can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days. Because of this, it is important to properly remove and dispose of ashes. Remove and place ashes in a dedicated metal ash container; ashes should be stored away from combustible surfaces and materials. Additionally, they should never be mixed in with household trash or in dumpsters.

At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, our goal is to allow our customers to safely enjoy their fireplaces and other heating appliances all year long. For more information on National Fire Prevention Week or fireplace safety tips, contact us today!

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