How Do I Clean My Chimney?

There are 4 methods of cleaning chimneys, rod method tops down, rod method bottoms up, the weight method, and the dual-line method. The most common of these is the rod method, either top-down or bottom-up. The bottom-up method is a bit safer than the top-down method because you don’t have to get on the roof. This method is very messy as you will be working in the firebox inside your home and cannot seal off the firebox opening. You will need quite a few drop cloths, and cover as much as possible to prevent furniture and flooring from being covered in soot. Also, you will need chimney rods that are flexible enough to make a 90-degree bend to get through the firebox and up the chimney. Then you will need a brush, there are many types and sizes of chimneys so before you choose a chimney brush you will need to measure the inner dimensions of the chimney that you are going to be cleaning. If your chimney is a metal Class A chimney, prefab chimney, or a masonry chimney that has been relined you will need to remove the chimney cap and then measure the distance across the inner diameter of the round chimney flue. Then choose a chimney brush that matches the measurements as closely as possible. You will also need to make sure you’re using the correct type of brush for your flue.

Chimney inspection
Chimney Sweep

Once you have your rod and brush, and other supplies, it is time to get started with the chimney cleaning. Make sure that you are wearing old work clothing or a coverall suit to protect the clothing underneath. Cleaning a chimney is a very dirty job and soot does not come out of clothing easily at all. Also, protect your eyes and lungs by wearing protective eyewear and a respirator-type mask. Here is a list of additional tools and supplies that you will need for this job: gloves, dustpan and broom, ash bucket or container, and an ash vacuum. You will want to start by laying the drop cloths over the furniture and flooring in the room where the fireplace is located. Put all of your protective wear on before you begin the next step in the cleaning process. Attach the first piece of pipe to the brush. Insert the brush through the firebox into the chimney. Then by pushing and pulling the brush and rod, begin to scrub the flue clean. Add another section of the chimney rod to extend the brush further up the chimney. Continue in this fashion until you’ve cleaned the entire length of the flue. Remove the debris that has fallen into the firebox from the chimney with the broom and dustpan, then use the Ash Vacuum to clean up any ash or soot that was left behind. Having said that cleaning a chimney can be a messy job, if you are a novice you can expect to get dirt and soot everywhere until you become familiar with the technique and become efficient. Sounds easy, right? But since you will probably spend as much on the supplies as you would have a professional do it for you. And may need a professional cleaner to come out to clean the soot that has gotten on your walls or furniture the cost of  Ash vacuums run around one hundred dollars, a brush costs around seventy dollars additional rods are about sixty dollars for six of them and drop cloths for chimney cleaning run about a hundred fifty dollars for five of them, this totals three hundred eighty dollars. Add three hundred for a professional house cleaning and for that price, you could have your chimney cleaned by a professional, as well as inspected for any safety issues to insure that your fireplace is safe to burn and may still have a little money left over.