Chimney Cleanout Door Basics Explained
The chimney cleanout door is the back door of a chimney where the rubbish is taken out. This piece may be behind the fireplace or it could be located outside the house.
Clean Up the Mess
Before you can open the chimney cleanout door, you must clean the mess around it. There is always an accumulation of bricks, debris and dust to sift through.
Inspect the Mess
The debris will reveal details about the condition of the chimney flue. When you look into the cleanout door, you should see daylight from the top of the chimney; otherwise, the flue may be blocked. Birds could have made nests there, or parts of the chimney could have collapsed. Use a mirror to inspect the interior of the cleanout door and flue.
Check the contents of the inside of the cleanout door. You may find bricks, caulk or flue tile liner. If there is a lot of concrete at the bottom, there may be some damage at the top of the chimney from water, frost or animals. This accumulation of concrete may indicate that the chimney is a potential hazard.
Close the chimney cleanout door. Inspect the surrounding area for leaks, broken concrete and any seepage of ash.
Get Rid of the Mess
Clean the debris inside and outside the cleanout door regularly to keep the chimney looking good and hygienic. Do not put the debris with regular rubbish as it is generally classified as building rubble. Wear rubber gloves, a soot suit (to prevent clothes getting dirty) and a mask to prevent inhaling anything dangerous. Choose a day that is not windy to work.
Replacing the Bricks
If the brick door is looking old and worn, it may be a good idea to replace it before the brinks crumble and the whole fireplace exit falls apart. Use the brick hammer and brick chisel to remove the mortar around the opening and remove loose bricks. Replace these bricks with new bricks and add a frame around the cleanout door.
Purchase an Iron Cleanout Door
An indoor fireplace will look great with a new cleanout door, and there are many for sale on the Internet. Measure the dimensions of the door and see which pattern and door suits your needs.
The chimney cleanout door may be daunting to open, but it needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent build up of harmful substances, pests and nests.