How To Clean A Chimney

If you utilize your fireplace or woodstove regularly however can’t keep in mind the last time your chimney was cleaned up, it’s most likely past due. In most cases, you can clean up the chimney yourself and save a couple of hundred dollars.

Regular cleaning with a store vac and basic chimney cleaning tools will prevent unsafe creosote fires. Here’s what you require to know before you get begun.

Tools Required:

Ground cloth
Dust mask
Flue liner brush
Long-handled brush
Noodle brush
Safety glasses
Security harness
Store vacuum
Materials Required
Duct tape
Poly sheeting

Eliminating common chimney soot is quite simple. However if you have heavy creosote accumulation, you’ll have to call in a pro. We’ll reveal you how to check yours to see if it certifies as a DIY task. If it does, just follow these actions. Otherwise, work with a certified chimney sweep.

Is Fireplace Cleaning a DIY Job?
Clean creosote accumulation from all parts of the chimney. Many chimney fires begin in the smoke chamber/smoke shelf area, so it’s the most essential area to clean (Figure A). Because that location is difficult to reach in some fireplaces, check yours to see if you can reach into it and still have space to maneuver a brush. If you can’t reach it, this isn’t a DIY project.

Next, see if you can access the fireplace chimney crown. If you have an extremely high roofing pitch or aren’t comfy working on your roofing, then this isn’t a job for you. Call a qualified chimney sweeper. If you decide you can handle the heights, ensure to wear a security harness.

Chimney Fires Destroy Homes
Creosote buildup might not look hazardous, but it ignites at a mere 451 degrees F, and when it begins burning, it broadens like foam sealant. In less than a minute, it develops to more than 2,000 degrees F and can engulf your entire chimney and ruin your home.

Even if you clean your chimney routinely, you ought to still have it inspected by a qualified chimney sweep when a year. Licensed chimney sweeper are trained to acknowledge chimney degeneration and venting problems and can assess your fireplace chimney’s condition.

If you burn mainly green (damp) logs, have your chimney cleaned or examined every 50 burns. If you see moisture bubbling out completions of the logs when they’re burning, the wood is wet. This green wood does not burn easily and sends a great deal of unburned particles (smoke) up the chimney, where they develop as creosote and soot. Dry hardwoods, such as oak and birch, burn hotter and cleaner. With them, have your fireplace chimney cleaned or inspected every 70 burns. Have a look at our collection of ideas for buying the best firewood.

How To Tell If Your Fireplace Chimney Needs Cleaning
A fast way to inform if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you discover a 1/8-in. or more layer of accumulation (the density of a nickel), call a chimney sweep.

Chimney sweeps may see 40 to 50 chimney fires a year, and more than half of the chimneys they service require additional cleaning because the property owners wait too long prior to calling. In severe cases, the solidified layer of accumulation requires cleaning with unique tools or chemicals. Plus, see our sure-fire methods to begin a fire in the fireplace.

A professional cleaning consists of an evaluation for soot buildup, blockages, fractures in the chimney liner and signs of water damage. Older chimneys often have spaces between clay liner areas where the mortar has actually fallen out.

When employing a chimney sweep, look for someone who’s certified and insured and will supply an upfront expense estimate. (For a list of certified chimney sweeper, contact the Chimney Safety Institute of America at

Do an Inspection.
Strap on safety glasses and a respirator, clean the ashes out of the firebox and eliminate the grate. Then open a door or window and wait a few minutes before opening the damper so the pressures match. Then open the damper and wait a few more minutes for heat to increase from your house.

Get your brightest flashlight and a fireplace poker and lean into the firebox. Shine your light into the smoke chamber and flue and utilize the poker to scratch the surface. If the soot has a matte black finish and the scratch is 1/8 in. deep or less, it’s a DIY task. However if the accumulation is much deeper or has a shiny, tar-like appearance, you have heavy creosote accumulation. Stop using your fireplace immediately and call an expert chimney sweeper.

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