Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Do It Yourself Chimney Cleaning

We want to clean our own chimney but don't know where to start. Are there any books, websites, etc., we can learn from or is it just common sense? We just moved into this old home and are dying to have a fire in our fireplace during the holidays :-)

Buy a good grade wire brush that fits your flue size (hardware stores usually have lessor quality) - contact a Chimney sweep who sells products.
You'll also need connecting rods connectors to reach from bottom to top or vice versa (you can clean it from below inside). Be sure to place tarps to protect your floor and use a wet dry/vac.
A fireplace has a smoke shelf just above and toward the front of the firebox; BE SURE to clean this off otherwise the creosote deposited there when you sweep down the flue will lay there waiting to catch fire.
Whether you have a clay-tile or metal liner makes no difference. But if you INFREQUENTLY use the fireplace, you will create MORE creosote - as each time the flue cools creosote forms. When you contact a chimney sweep ask about a spray to put on each log before you place it in the fire (I used to use Safe-T-Flue), that will help keep creosote from building up. We just sprayed a bit on each log it turned the creosote in the flue into a powder like dust making a world of difference come sweeping time.
You can use a mirror flashlight to look up your flue to check if it needs cleaning. If you can't see the color of flue tiles or it looks fuzzy - it needs cleaning.
Don't burn colored paper (gives off gases) or wood that has not been cut left sitting for at least a year (creosote builds quickly when green wood is used). Have a good fire extinquisher nearby.
A good chimney cap will keep rain animals out of your flue; rain, when added to ashes in the firebox will turn to acids that destroy motar, creating a fire hazard until repairs are made. We removed many birds (squirrels, bats) from homes (and bird nests on the smoke shelf or blocking the flue on top) from uncapped chimneys. Suggestion: use stainless steel - a bit more expensive but lasts a lifetime.
FYI: I owned a chimney cleaning repair business for 11 years. Please take all safety precautions when putting fire in your home. I've seen the results of not being safety-minded; my husband was a fireman, too.

As a chimney owner myself, I would have to recommend the Sweepng Log. You can find it at their website:
It's do-it-yourself chimney cleaner, and it's easy to use. It helped my chimney get rid off most of the tar and creosote build up. I gotta recommend it. Check it out.

Tags: yourself, chimney, cleaning, your flue, needs cleaning, smoke shelf