Cleaning the Chimney

by Julia Woodbury
(last updated August 5, 2013)

Since professional chimney sweeps charge upwards of $100 to clean your chimney, save your money and do the job yourself. While your initial cash outlay for equipment will be about $150, it is a wise investment. Some of the equipment you will need to clean your chimney includes brushes and rods, tarps or covers, and elbow grease. The most difficult part of cleaning your chimney is getting the ladder out and setting it up. Follow these guidelines to clean your chimney and keep it free of dangerous, combustible creosote:

  • You will need a pad of paper, a pencil, and a tape measure when you're on top of the roof, so be sure to take them with you when you climb your ladder.
  • Climb to your roof and remove the chimney cap, if you have one. Simply loosen the screws at the base, and remove it.
  • Measure the side of your flue and write down the measurements. Look down the chimney and determine if you have a lot of creosote buildup, or just a little bit of soot. It doesn't matter how large or how small your soot/creosote deposits are, you still need to thoroughly clean your chimney.
  • Once back inside of the house, determine the height of your chimney. If you have a two-story home, your chimney will be about twenty-five feet high. A one-story home has a fifteen-foot chimney.
  • Go to your hardware store and buy a chimney brush. They come in three-, four-, five-, and six-foot sections. Buy enough sections to screw together to clean the length of your chimney. Make sure that you use the size of your flue tiles to determine the width of your brush.
  • Completely seal the fireplace opening, even if you have glass doors on your fireplace. Soot is a fine dust that can escape through the smallest cracks, so make sure that you cover the fireplace and tape your tarp flat against the brickwork.
  • Screw the brush rods together tightly and climb back to the top of your roof. Clean your chimney one foot at a time by pressing the brush down the chimney, and allowing it to spring back a little. Repeat the process until you clean the entire chimney.
  • Replace the chimney cap when you're finished, and remove the tarp from the fireplace, and then use a heavy duty or shop vacuum to vacuum the fireplace and surrounding room.

Take care not to over tighten the screws when you replace the chimney cap, as you could crack the flue tiles, resulting in very costly repairs. Make absolutely certain that you wait at least five days after a fire has been kindled in your fireplace before you attempt to clean your chimney.

Author Bio

Julia Woodbury

Julia Woodbury is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University. She delights in the written word and has interests in magazine writing and editing. ...

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