If you’re like most of us, chances are you won’t be using your fireplace very much, if any, from now until winter rolls around again. However, you shouldn’t simply let the last fire of the season die and call it good. There’s a little bit of cleaning you should do in order to keep your home safe from chimney fires, going beyond simply scheduling an annual chimney cleaning.
One of the best things you can do is adding a “creosote sweeping” log to an existing fire in your wood-burning fireplace. Creosote is the chemical mass of carbon that builds up when wood is burned, and if it isn’t properly disposed of periodically, it can cause a chimney fire. When heated, the creosote sweeping log’s powder turns into an active gas and attacks the creosote. The fire-log remains in its wrapper when you put it in the existing fire, making it an easy way to keep your chimney clean, as well as keeping your hands clean.
Once you’re ready to extinguish the fire, you should use a fire-poker to spread the embers around to prevent them from feeding off one another and continuing the blaze. After it’s mostly died down, use a fire shovel to scoop up the ashes and put them on top of any remaining embers. Lastly, you might want to add a small layer of baking soda; this ensures there’s no chance of any flames or embers continuing to burn. After that, you can just scoop up the ashes and put them in a metal ash container. And if you want to be eco-friendly, the ashes can be added to soil in your outdoor garden!