A DIY Guide To Cleaning Your Chimney

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Fireplaces bring old charm and cozy warmth to homes. These beautiful additions create a comforting ambiance, but they require a certain level of care—especially the chimney. Cleaning a fireplace is relatively easy, but effectively cleaning your chimney can be a big job.

It’s crucial to stay on top of your chimney’s cleanliness for optimal functioning and to prevent severe fire hazards. To effectively care for your chimney and your home, follow these steps.

Step 1: Determine if You Can DIY

Before you start, you first need to determine if you can clean your chimney without professional help. Chimney cleaning is a tedious task, and it can take professionals anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to finish the job.

Your goal in chimney cleaning is to rid the chimney shaft of creosote and soot build-up. If the build-up is too large, you need to call a professional to take care of it. However, if you find the build-up is less than 1/8th of an inch deep, you may be able to tackle it on your own. In addition, you’ll need to access your chimney crown, located on your roof, to complete the job. If you’re unable to get to the crown safely, you’ll need to call in a professional to complete the task.

Step 2: Gather the Right Tools

If you determine you can safely access the chimney crown, you’ll need the right tools to get there. These include a ladder, safety harness, safety helmet, and an additional person or persons to supervise. Never attempt to work on your roof without the supervision of another capable individual.

Once on the roof, you’ll need a high-power flashlight, metal bristle brush, and enough rods to handle the height of your chimney. You’ll use these tools to determine the depth of your build-up. Note that each chimney is different, so you’ll need to measure the size of your chimney and its flue to get the right brush size.

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Use your flashlight and a fireplace poker to scratch the smoke chamber and flue to determine the buildup. If the soot has a black matte finish and is 1/8th an inch deep or less, you know you’re okay to clean yourself. If you see a shiny or tar-like appearance or the build-up is more than 1/8th an inch deep, you should call a professional to take on the job.

Step 4: Set Up Your Area

If you are moving ahead with cleaning yourself, your next step is to protect your home’s interior. Lay your canvas tarp over the fireplace and spread it throughout the surrounding room. Secure the tarp over the fireplace opening with tape and insert the shop vac hose through the tarp. Seal everything with duct tape to keep soot from pushing into the room.

After setting up your shop vac outside, connect sections to the hose so it can reach. You’ll run the vacuum while you brush the area, keeping an eye on the filter and replacing or cleaning it when it clogs. Close the windows and doors near your shop vac to prevent any fine soot from reentering your home.

Step 5: Begin Cleaning

Start at your fireplace and ram your cleaning brush up and down several times around the flue section to remove any hardened soot. Use your flashlight to check your work before moving to the next section, ensuring you clean as much soot as possible from the flue area. Once cleared, start your shop vac and move to the roof.

Before cleaning, make sure you are safely equipped with your harness and have supervision from an individual on the ground. Again, you should only clean out your chimney with proper supervision, on a stable rooftop, and with a safety harness and a hard hat. Those without experience working on rooftops should strongly consider hiring a professional.

Once you are secured on the rooftop, add rods to your cleaning brush, moving it down the fireplace till you no longer feel resistance. At this point, you pushed down the soot to the smoke chamber. Climb down from the roof and start to work inside at the firebox. Use a long-handled brush to clean the smoke chamber and a flue brush to remove soot from the smoke shelf. Switch back to the long-handled brush to clean the sides of the firebox.

Vacuum out the firebox and fold up the canvas when you have cleared as much soot and debris as possible. Take the canvas outside and shake out any residue. Fold up the sheets to use again for your next cleaning.

Step 6: Schedule an Inspection

Your fireplace isn’t safe until you’ve scheduled your annual chimney inspection. Even the best DIY job can’t handle creosote build-up, and you need to be sure you didn’t miss any build-up during your cleaning. Have a chimney repair and cleaning professional inspect your chimney once a year to assure you don’t have additional build-up and or repair needs.

Top 10 Organization Tips For Spring Cleaning This Year

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A clean home is a happy home. Participating in spring cleaning can do wonders for opening up the space in your home, as well as provide you with mental clarity. When you’re no longer stressed about the state of your home, you can put more effort into planning activities or simply living in the moment. If you’re looking for a little divine inspiration, we have you covered. Let’s go over our top 10 organization tips for deep spring cleaning.

1.    Plan Ahead For Springtime Pests

When spring arrives, so do the bugs. Enjoy your sunshine-filled days to the fullest without the stress of bug bites or home infestations. Keep unwanted visitors out of your home with preventative DIY pest control. Combat all your common pest problems without the hassle or expenses of booking an exterminator. Secure your entire property line with easy-to-use pest control spray equipment. Bask in the beauty of spring with the comfort of knowing your home is safe from household pests.

2.    Switch Out Your Wardrobe

Out with the winter and in with the spring! As the days get warmer, will you really be wearing that turtleneck? It’s an important question to ask when you’re trying to emulate that clean-slate, spring-clean feeling. Be sure to use space-saving containers that can easily fit in any storage area, so your winter clothes are out of sight and out of mind. Plus, going through your wardrobe is an excellent excuse for another key spring organizational tactic.

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3.    Donate What Doesn’t Bring You Joy

It can be easy to let your collection of clothes build up over the years. Rather than continue to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of clothes you have accumulated, take time to sort through your seasonal wardrobes and create a donation pile. You’ll feel a lot better, lighter, and more inclined to enter the next chapter of your style. And don’t forget that clothing donations qualify for a tax deduction.

4.    Create A Cleaning Plan

In a perfect world, a complete spring cleaning can happen in a day. Most of the time, this isn’t an option. And that’s okay! Plan ahead for the effort it takes to clean your home. Schedule out a week-long or multi-week cleaning plan checklist that you can refer to as you work room by room. It’s entirely up to you, your schedule, and your preferred cleaning methods. If you need some inspiration, there are plenty of spring cleaning resources online.

5.    Find Functional Storage Hacks

The internet is ripe with tips and tricks for creating usable storage in the smallest spaces. Think your situation is helpless? Think again! There are plenty of online organization experts ready and willing to share their secrets. Check out creative storage hacks for immediate improvements to your home’s organizational system.

6.    Put Effort Into Your Kitchen

Your fridge, pantry, and kitchen cabinets should bring you peace amidst life’s chaos. The last thing you want to do is come home to a disorganized kitchen that brings stress before meal planning. Craft the kitchen of your dreams with a spice organizer. Deep clean remnants of old produce and eliminate expired condiments from the fridge. You will feel the weight of stress lift off your shoulders in no time. A clean kitchen should feel like a weekly fresh start and not a constant chore looming over your head.

7.    Deep Clean Your Mattress

When’s the last time you did this? Many people skip their mattress entirely when it comes to an annual spring clean, but it deserves some TLC. Get rid of dust, bacteria, and sweat with an easy sprayable cleaning solution made of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and a little baking soda. This also may give your mattress a longer life expectancy. Pro tip: flip your mattress twice a year for maximum comfort and even use!

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8.    Take A Crack At The Garage

Ah, the garage. To many people, this is the no-fly zone when it comes to cleaning. The overwhelming feeling of staring into a disorganized garage is not for the faint of heart. Give yourself a day during your spring cleaning journey to do some damage. Starting is half the battle. Sometimes all it takes is just a mindless clean to give yourself a future organization game plan that you can stick to all year long.

9.    Create a Calming Atmosphere

Create a calming atmosphere in your home with house plants, essential oils, or even a decorative candle or two. Your home is your sanctuary and it deserves to be treated as such. Create a clean atmosphere that you look forward to entering every day. Try a citrus-scented air freshener for a natural odor eliminator that smells delightful or experiment with seasonal scents you can’t get enough of.

10. Keep It Sustainable

If you decide on a super complicated organizational system for your fridge, how likely are you to stick with it? Be honest with yourself. The goal of spring cleaning is to set yourself up for success, but make sure your system is maintainable for you and your family. A realistic cleaning organizational system will keep your house in great shape and give you the opportunity to focus on other parts of life.

Let’s Get Cleaning

However you decide to start your spring cleaning process, be sure to plan ahead. Set intentions and goals, and try your best to see them through. Giving your home a well-deserved deep clean is an awesome way to enter springtime feeling like you’ve turned a new leaf.


Author Bio:

Carolyn Mitchell is a freelance writer and content strategist with a passion for home décor. She can often be found re-painting and updating the furnishings in her home, and she is also a dedicated cat mom to two adorable kitties.

6 Roof Maintenance Tips Every Home Lover Should Know

Roof is what is standing between you and sunlight, rain, snow, feces of birds along with natural disasters. Since we have established that the roof is the most important part of any individual’s life, let me ask a question that is going to make a bunch of you very uncomfortable. What are you doing to keep it over your head? How often do you run maintenance sprees on it? 

Have you thought about it? Would you like to do something to make the big fat investment which is your roof safer? Your stars are aligning just in the right direction today, as I am going to teach you six simplest of the ways to keep your roof healthy for years. 

  1. Get Rid of Those Branches 

When the trees and branches are friends of the environment, the same cannot be said about the relationship of your roof and branches, according to the Roof Professionals

Simply put, branches are evil for your roof. You cannot allow trees to grow above or near your home’s roof at any cost. While it may sound bizarre, due to trees providing us the much needed oxygen factor, the truth is during any sort of natural disaster, even in the case of strong winds, branches tend to break. Breaking heavy branches may fall onto your roof, ending up damaging your roof. Maybe even breaking it. 

So, if after looking at a branch you wonder, “if it is too close?” Well, it might really be. The excellent solution will be to chop off the tree while planting a new one away from your roof, you can also go for trimming the tree every then and now, to get a secure roof.

  1. The Downspouts Cleaning 

Downspouts or roof drains are often clogged after a heavy rain and for obvious reasons as well. After clearing gallons of water off your roof, some things like dirt, stones, leaves, et cetera will block it naturally. These vertical pipes that run down to the gutters are lifelines of your roof. 

They evacuate the rainwater from your roof, not allowing it to accumulate on your roof and messing it up. So, if you ever run across a clogged downspout, just try adding screens into them. Mesh screens are just another shortcut to cleaner downspouts. 

Another downspout prevention is to keep in mind that there are many joints, connections, and elbows used in downspouts. You must keep all these connections in check as well for any leaks and cracks. 


Your best bet is to check the pipes when it is raining. Fix if there are any leaks in the pipe or it may collapse very soon. 

  1. Mingling With Shingles

This one is the easiest one on the list so far. As a homeowner you have to know how to check your roof shingles. It has to be a part of your weekend routine. Pay your roof a visit during the weekends and check for any broken or missing shingles. 

You should also pay attention to how your roof shingles look. If any area looks really streaky to you or you may find any cracked shingles, change them as soon as possible. Shingles can also be inspected from the ground. However, not all of them will be visible from down there, you eventually may have to go back up on the roof for a thorough inspection. 

  1. Look Out For the Signs Within the Home

When there is something wrong with your roof, your home will start spreading out the signs all over it. All you need to do is, look. Translate what your home is telling you about your roof’s condition. 

Look for molds or any big black spots on your ceiling. If there are black spots on your ceiling, there are good chances that somewhere on your roof, either water or moisture has accumulated. Both of them will ruin your home in no time. Better keep them under the check. 

Dipping water from the roof is also a huge red flag, that indicates that your roof has been cracked. Repair the roof without any delays in this scenario, you do not have much time. 

  1. Adopt a No Nest Policy 

It is your home, it is your roof, there cannot be a place for any bird or its family. Similar policy needs to be adapted for rodents as well. They can look cute but they are really the villains here. They will dig holes into your roof to make it their own home. 

You do not want holes in your roof do you? Good, chase them away whenever you notice any bird, squirrel or rat sitting on your roof for too long. 

Their presence under your roof is a bad sign and you should chase them out immediately when you notice their movement. Squirrels, as cute as they are, can and will chew onto your roof. Hence the no nest policy.  

There Can be Underlying Issues

There can be a lot of underlying issues, when it comes to roofs. You can add or replace attic insulation, can ensure proper ventilation in your home and there still can be issues. It is your most important part of the home we are talking about. 

With all the personal inspection, you should always get your roof checked by the professionals, every then and now. It is not about money, but about saving your life earnings and your family. A broken roof can end up hurting your family. 

So, even if you can, once every year, ask the pros to check your roof thoroughly for any dangerous business. 

Ending Note

So, these are six pro tips that are going to help you in protecting your home’s roof while extending its life. I am sure these tips will help you save a lot of money in repairs. You are going to eliminate the problem before it is even going to start. 

To end, while using any of these tips, always keep your security and your family’s as top priority. Whenever you are in doubt, it is safer to call the experts in, rather than doing a DIY on the roof. It is an important part of your life, take care of it with love. 

Organizational Tips

Having a beautiful interior design in your home is nothing without some organization. If there is too much clutter the beautiful design will get lost in all the items and your mind will be stressed. Clean and organized home can greatly affect your mood and stress levels, so make sure to master these few tips on how to keep your home free of clutter.

Organize each room to fit your needs

Every room has its designated function to satisfy your needs. However, with too much clutter the room can become completely useless. Thus, reorganize and give back the purpose to each room. The kitchen should be clean and fully functional so you can cook in peace and with love. The bathroom, too, should be clean and everything should work properly. Your living room should always be tidy, spacious and comfortable so it can accommodate your guests and family. Kid’s rooms and bedrooms should be completely adjusted to everyone’s needs. Adjust the heights of beds, closets, shelves etc. Also, pay attention to clothes and how you organize and store them; the same goes for toys in kid’s room.

Tidy up your closet

Closets tend to get crowded and messy. We lose track of the things we store there which results in a huge pile of clothes shoved inside. This provides stress because you can never know where certain pieces are and you lose time while searching and ironing everything. In order to nip this in the bud, you should start grouping your clothes. You can even store them according to frequency of use and put the ones you wear often in the front or lower on the shelf, while the pieces you don’t wear that often you can put at the back. Additionally, the things you don’t wear at all should be given away to charity, while you will manage to declutter your closet.

Consider a storage unit

Once you start reorganizing and decluttering, you will notice how many things you have that can be disposed off or stored somewhere else. Some older pieces of furniture, older clothes or some outdoor furniture and similar items can easily find a new home. Many families in Australia actually opt for renting storage units for storing their things from time to time. If you do have things that need temporary storage until you figure out what to do with them, you can opt for temporary storage in Brisbane and remove some excess items from your home for better comfort.

Clear the kitchen cabinets

Cabinets are one of the messiest places in your kitchen. You constantly keep adding items and food into them which creates a chaos. Take your time and clear the kitchen cabinets and start over. Remove everything, organize dishes, food, containers and so on and put everything back with care. Also, every time you take something out, try to keep it organized and put it back into place and you will manage to avoid clutter. Also, you can use containers with labels and keep your snacks and baking supplies tidy and easy to find.

Keep the documents at bay

Every house has some papers that cannot be thrown away. We need place for our bills, contracts, warranties, receipts, etc. However, they all end up in the same drawer and you need to dig deep in order to find something you need. To avoid this, buy folders where you can keep the bills and contracts and make sure to label everything for better organization. Also, you can have a colour-coded system for each folder and type of documents and always know where to look.

An organized home promises an organized mind and that’s what everyone needs. Master these tips and declutter your home. You will notice instant change in atmosphere that will contribute to everyone’s health.