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The Home Depot

How to Clean and Prep your Chimney for Winter

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Fireplace & Chimney > How to Clean and Prep your Chimney for Winter
How to Clean and Prep your Chimney for Winter

Cleaning and prepping your chimney for winter is part of being a responsible home owner. By doing so, you ensure that your family stays safe while using it and your chimney works as it should for a very long time. After all, if you have a fireplace, the winter is likely when it gets the most use. And even if you don’t have a fireplace, your chimney works hard to remove the potentially deadly byproducts of your home heating system. It’s really important that it work well.


You may not have ever considered how important your chimney is when it comes to keeping your home running well. “Even though you can’t see it, the air in your house in constantly in motion,” explains the Chimney Safety institute of America on the group’s website. “In general, airflow tries to flow out of your house in the upper parts and the make-up air tries to flow into your house in the lower parts.” However, if your chimney is blocked or dirty, the air can’t flow out properly.


It’s best for you to make sure your chimney is working well – especially in the winter months when you’ll be spending the bulk of your time indoors with all your windows and doors shut. Learn how to clean and prep your chimney for winter with this guide.

  1. You may not have ever considered how important your chimney is when it comes to keeping your home running well.

    1.Have your Chimney Professionally Inspected

    Most chimney experts say that while it’s not necessary to have your chimney cleaned on a specific schedule, you should have it inspected once a year. This should be done by a certified chimney inspector. That’s because certified inspectors have met certain guidelines to earn their title; they know very well the inner workings of your chimney and what to look for when inspecting it. As long as your chimney isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary and no changes have been made to your ventilation system, you will only need a Level 1 inspection. That means your inspector will do a basic check of the chimney – making sure it’s sound, that all of its parts are in working order, and that it’s free of obstruction.

  2. 2.Make Note of any Quirks with your Chimney

    Although you won’t be doing the inspection yourself, you the homeowner are a good resource during the inspection process. You can tell the inspector if you have noticed anything out of the ordinary. For example, if you have noticed any strange smells coming from your chimney or if you have felt drafts that you have not felt before. Write down any abnormalities that you witness so you won’t forget them.

  3. 3.Keep your Chimney’s Damper Closed when it’s Not in Use

    Why? Because in the winter when it’s cold out, you are spending a lot of money and energy to make sure your house is warm and comfortable. An open damper can let in cold drafts, which in turn makes your home heating system have to work harder to do its job. Save yourself money and keep your home comfortable by keeping your damper closed.

  5. 4.Check for Leaks and Water Damage

    Chimney-related problems don’t confine themselves only to the space within your chimney. This is a good time to make sure that things are working as they should on your roof. Make sure the chimney is securely attached to your roof. Make sure there aren’t signs of rust or any other kind of deterioration. Look for water damage – which isn’t just harmful to your chimney, but your whole house.


    Don’t forget about your chimney when you are preparing your home for winter. Not only could it help lower your heating bills and keep your family safe, it might even ensure that Santa puts you on his ‘nice’ list instead of the ‘naughty’ one!

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