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How to Clean a Chimney? Tips and methods

Households should be cleaning their chimney at least once a year, depending on how often it is used. The ideal time to clean it is in the Fall before the fires start lighting up. This needs to be done in order to avoid chimney fires. The problem is, many do not know how to clean a chimney, so here are a few methods to help get you started.

Steps for cleaning your chimney

There are many methods on how to clean a chimney. Here is a basic outline of the process and some things to think about.

Here is a basic tool list that you will need to have before beginning the project.

  • metal or plastic wire chimney brush (make sure to measure the flue before purchasing the brush)
  • chimney brush extension pipes
  • small stiff wire brush
  • plastic tarp for appliances indoors
  • dust mask and goggles
  • hoover
  • ladder

Before getting started, you will need to do some preparations.

Clothing: Wear old clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. Make sure that you have a head covering, gloves, goggles, and a dust mask on. This prevents you from inhaling any soot or ash that can irritate the eyes and skin.

House: Cover the area around the fireplace with a cloth as well as any carpet nearby and furniture. This will help save cleaning time later.

Chimney: Take a flash light and make sure there aren't any animals that have nested in the chimney. Also remove the damper handle and clean it. You do not want this getting in the way of the chimney brush. Also measure the size of the flue to help make sure you get the right size brush.

Methods

Rod method top-bottom

Before beginning this method, tightly close the fireplace with plywood or metal sheet. This will help prevent soot from covering everything in your home.

Grab a ladder and make sure it is secure before climbing up it. Attach the chimney brush and small extension once on the roof. Move the brush in an up and down motion to start the cleaning and continually attach a piece of the extension until it reaches all the way down the flue.

Another method is the Rod method bottom-top

This is exactly the same as the top-bottom but is just backwards. You start at the bottom and slowly attach the extension and clean until it reaches the top. This is a much dirtier option, but saves you any risk of falling off the roof.

Another option is the Pully System

With this method, you need 2 people, one on the roof and one on the bottom. 2 ropes are attached to the brush and the person on the roof drops down the other rope to person by the fireplace. They work with each other to move the brush up and down the flue.

Once the chimney is clean, you can use the wire brush to clean the bottom part of chimney.

Final Clean

Find the flue entrance and make sure it is cleaned. This is where the soot and creosote collected. Once swept up, check and see where this should be disposed of. Because it is flammable it should not be put in the wastebin. Remember to reattach the damper handle.

Alternative

For those that are still confused on how to clean a chimney, prefer not to climb the roof, or deal with the mess have another option. Simply call a professional to come in and do it. This saves time and hassle, but comes with a financial cost. Ask around and see if there are any recommendations on chimney sweepers in your area.

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