How to Clean Your Chimney

Springtime chimney cleaning is very important. A through cleaning is recommended after a long winter of burning fires. The initial cost of purchasing a brush and the rods for cleaning your chimney can be in the range depending on the size of your flue and the height of your chimney. Many times a chimney sweep can charge up to $100 to clean your chimney depending on the height and how dirty it is. Once you’ve purchased the brush and rods the rest of your chimney sweeping only requires some elbow grease instead of paying for a cleaning. If you want to share the cost see if a neighbor might want to split it with you. Cleaning your chimney isn’t difficult; the hardest part of the job is getting out the ladder. Once you’ve dug the ladder out of the garage you’re well on your way.

how to clean chimney

Don’t forget to take a tape measure, pen and paper up there with you, (there’s nothing worse than getting back on the ground and forgetting what the dimensions were). Now that you’re on the roof if you have a chimney cap remove it. Some chimney caps can easily be removed by loosening 4 thumb screws at the base. Some chimney caps are permanently mounted and the screws are on the lid.

Next measure the inside of your flue tiles and write it down. Take a good look at your chimney while you’re up there. Creosote will tend to be the heaviest at the top of the chimney were it starts to cool during the burning process. If there appears to be little or no creosote buildup just black soot a wire brush will work fine. If the creosote is really thick you may want to consider a flat wire brush that will give you more surface contact.

Always use the bush that is the same size and the flue tiles. If the brush is too small you won’t make surface contact or if too large you will jam the brush and bend the bristles. Next determine the total height of your chimney, from smoke chamber to the top. If it is a one story home the chimney would average 15′, two story around 25′. Chimney brush rods are available in 3′ 4′ 5′ and 6′ sections that screw together. Chimney brush rods are made of fiberglass and are very flexible; they can bend 90 degrees or more. This allows for cleaning any bends in your chimney.

When selecting a chimney brush you will be amazed at the differences and cost. The double spiral brush contains more bristles which will give you more surface contact. This is great for moderately cleaning the soot. A single spiral brush with fewer wires is great for the quick sweep when there is just a light dusting of soot. The flat wire brush is best for the heavy jobs. If you have a metal chimney or your chimney has been relined a poly brush is recommended for cleaning. A poly brush will not scratch the inside or your pipe.