How to Clean a Chimney?

Chimneys are a critical part of your home. They help to circulate air and remove smoke from your house. However, they can also be very dirty and dangerous if not properly maintained. This user’s guide will provide you with the tools you need to clean and maintain your chimney for years to come!

Cleaning a chimney is not the most glamorous thing to do, but it’s important and necessary for keeping your home safe. There are many different ways of cleaning a chimney: you can hire someone else to do it or you can buy products that will help make this job easier. The first step in any type of chimney cleaning is to prepare your supplies and tools before starting the process. In this article, we will discuss how best to clean a residential fireplace or wood stove from top to bottom!chimney sweep

The first step to take is always safety precaution. Be sure that the fireplace has been turned off and cooled down before you start cleaning it, especially if your chimney runs through an attached home or other living area. You don’t want any absent-minded mistakes getting near a hot stove! Also be aware of how long it takes for ashes to cool completely after they have burned out in the wood burning heater so you can remove them with care.

Once all these precautions are taken into consideration then clean away behind the damper flap but do not poke or prod at this part as doing so may cause injury or damage to property, depending on what model of flue system you have installed.

Why Is It Necessary to Clean a Chimney?

  • The main reason you want to clean chimney is because when they are not, it can cause damage. If the dirty flue isn’t cleaned regularly over time there will be a build up of soot and creosote which in turn can lead to hazardous conditions for your family members. Creosote is combustible substance that shows dark black or brown color on outer surface of fireplace bricks, especially if it builds up quickly after using fire place few times within short period.
  • In addition, chimneys can also accumulate a lot of dangerous gases which you want to avoid. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer and it’s odorless but deadly gas that could be released from burning coal or wood inside fireplace. If there are cracks in any part of your home allow gas leakage into interior parts.

Another reason for cleaning chimney

  • It actually increases the efficiency of appliance because when flue isn’t cleaned properly smoke from fire place will come out sooty and dirty with creosote build up. This interferes with normal operation giving off unpleasant smell plus decreasing heating power/efficiency over time due to lack of proper draft after using many times within short periods.
  • Last but not least, you need to keep chimney clean so it can be ready for use when needed. It’s important because if flue isn’t cleaned your fire place will not work properly and efficiently enough which makes heating/cooking using fire places more difficult over time.

How To Tell If Your Fireplace Chimney Needs Cleaning?

One of the most common signs that your fireplace chimney needs a thorough cleaning is when you begin to notice issues with how it operates. This could mean something as simple as more creosote deposits being left behind, or perhaps even an overall reduction in efficiency due to soot buildup on key parts such as the heat exchange system and fans. In some cases, there may be evidence of damage done from debris falling down into these critical components if they are not properly looked after.

Can you clean your own Chimney?

You can, but it isn’t easy. Or fun.

Do you know how dirty your chimney is?

Most likely a lot of creosote has built up on the interior walls and flue liner over time from burning wood with little air flow to remove its byproducts. Creosote build-up acts as insulation that prevents heat from traveling upwards into your home resulting in dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning if left untreated for too long! Do not wait until there is an issue before taking action about cleaning your Chimney – it’s better to do preventative maintenance than start trying to fix problems when they are already happening behind closed doors. This task may be easier said than done because many people have no idea where or what type of flue liner is in their home.chimney sweep

If you cannot identify what type of lining your chimney has, there are ways to find out before deciding if it’s time to schedule professional cleaning or take on the project yourself. The National Chimney Sweeps Guild (NCSG) suggests trying a damp cloth test: soak the end of a clean cloth with water and rub against each area where creosote typically builds up – if any black marks come off, then that part needs attention. Another method involves using an old dusting brush or vacuum hose attachment; run them along exterior walls until they start coming back covered in soot, this indicates which section(s) need special care. If neither option works for you because you cannot reach the walls of your chimney, call us and we can help! Our technicians are trained to identify every type of lining material on all types of appliances.

See also
How to install Triple Wall Chimney Pipe?

If you choose to clean it yourself (which is not usually recommended), be sure to use a brush with sturdy bristles that will hold up through heavy-duty scrubbing; do NOT use any chemical cleaners as they could damage your Chimney’s surface or even cause harmful fumes inside your home. We recommend using warm soapy water mixed with baking soda paste – let this sit for about an hour before rinsing off completely and drying thoroughly from top to bottom. If there isn’t enough time for a solution like this, just mix two dishwashing liquid soap with water to create a sudsy mix that will work for cleaning. You can use either an old toothbrush or small hand brush depending on how big the space is and what you have available – just be sure to take your time and don’t rush it!

You should also avoid using high-pressure hoses as they could damage your Chimney lining by flinging off loose particles instead of scrubbing them away. Also, do not attempt this task if there are any children around because both chemicals and pressure cleaners pose serious threats when used incorrectly; leave it up to us so we can safely clean from top to bottom with little effort on your part! Once cleaned out thoroughly, make sure everything dries completely before lighting another fire in your fireplace so there are no stains left behind.

Do an Chimney Inspection

Do an inspection before you do any cleaning or repair work. If there are cracks, creosote buildup, loose bricks, etc., it’s time to call a professional chimney sweep company.

  • *Learn about the tools that are required to clean a chimney.*

There are two main types of professional-grade cleaning tools. One is called a “hook” and one is called an “industrial vacuum cleaner.” With both, you want to make sure they have been tested for safe use on homes with stucco, vinyl siding or other non-brick exteriors. If there isn’t enough clearance between your house’s exterior wall and the chimney itself, don’t try to use these cleaners without contacting us first!

The purpose of having so many different kinds of tools available is because it can be hard work just trying to figure out what will fit through each individual flue. We’ll need to find out the size of your chimney and what kind is already in place before we can answer that question.

We also recommend using a guide when cleaning with these tools so you don’t damage anything or risk falling down into the fireplace itself. It is important to note it may be helpful for us to install a secure safety cage around your fireplace opening as well, but this will depend on how much work needs done inside of it once all debris has been removed from the exterior of the home.

Is Fireplace Cleaning a DIY Job?

If you have a fireplace in your home, it’s important to know how to clean chimney. The answer is no! It requires professionals because the task involves many risks and hazards. In this article, we will discuss some of them that possibly can occur if DIY cleaning or hiring an amateur cleaner.chimney sweep

First of all, it’s important to mention that the task is very dangerous. If you are not experienced enough and do something wrong while performing cleaning, there can be serious consequences. Professionals have years of experience in this field so they know how to work with chimney safely and efficiently.

Also, the activity is not cheap. If you hire an amateur cleaner and something goes wrong during cleaning, your insurance will pay for it but if a professional gets hurt while working on your fireplace then he/she won’t be able to work anymore and can file a complaint with his or her employer against you. This means that in addition to paying money for services you have to worry about losing even more because of some mistakes made by others!

As we already mentioned, there are two things which can go wrong when performing chimney clean up: accidents and poor performance of the task itself. In both cases everything depends on what kind of company did this job for you so make sure that they have at least few years experience in this field.

See also
Why Your Wood Stove Is Burning Hot (And How To Cool Down)

The most common accidents that can occur during the cleaning process are falls, burns and electrocution. If you think this is something minor or it will not happen to your home then think again! The safest way how to clean chimney is hiring professionals who know what they need to do in order for everything go smoothly like planned without any damages.

What about poor performance of the task?

This happens more often than one would expect because some companies don’t even perform all necessary steps before leaving your place empty handed after charging an amount which depends on how big was the problem with fireplace at first place. Usually, there are several important things that should be done when performing chimney clean up:

  • Ash Removal;
  • Cleaning and Inspection of the Flue;
  • Checking for Carbon Monoxide Leaks.

If these steps are not performed then what is the point in spending money? If you ask yourself this question then answer is simple: there isn’t really a point unless you want to risk your life as well as those around it! If somebody wants to perform chimney clean up alone, he/she must know how to do everything correctly otherwise consequences might be fatal or at least very costly which means that they will have no other choice than hiring professionals who already did all important procedures and now only need customers like you.

So keep in mind next time when someone offers fireplace cleaning services whether it’s nearby professional company or just neighbors who want to help you for free – always check their background and whether they actually know what they are doing. Even if it’s not a costly procedure, there is no point in risking your life as well as those around you!

Tools Required

  • Drop cloth
  • Dust mask
  • Flashlight
  • Chimney brush
  • Safety glasses
  • Safety harness
  • Shop vacuum

Materials Required

  • Duct tape
  • Poly sheeting

How to Clean Chimney?

There are several ways you can clean your chimney. For example, the simplest and safest is to hire a professional for this job. You do not want to risk hiring someone who has no experience in cleaning fireplaces; it could cause serious damage to your property if something goes wrong with their equipment or technique. If you really insist on doing it yourself, then follow these steps:chimney

  • Get some safety equipment, including a heavy duty rubber glove and face mask. You do not want to inhale the soot or catch any skin irritation from handling dirty materials such as ashes and chimney brushes;
  • Have all necessary tools ready before starting: ladder (to reach your roof), vacuum cleaner with hose attachment (for getting rid of excess ash in the fireplace), old cotton rags for rubbing out small stains on brickwork around hearth and mantelpiece, etc.;
  • Wear clothing you don’t mind getting ruined because things will probably get messy;
  • Make sure you have someone there to keep an eye on children while working at height – it is very if they run up behind you and slip. A friend, neighbor or family member will do;
  • If you decide to hire a chimney sweep make sure they are qualified for this job – ask them what their experience is in cleaning your type of chimneys as there could be different techniques required depending on the materials used (brick/steel/fire clay);
  • Give yourself plenty of time because it can take several hours if not all day;
  • Make sure everything has been turned off before starting: gas fireplaces should have pilot light extinguished and any electric heating switched off at mains supply unit (fuse box or consumer unit). Turn thermostat down to zero degrees Celsius on central heating radiators;
  • Remove flammable items from surrounding area;
  • Cover furniture and carpets with polythene sheeting or old blankets to protect them;
  • Ask someone to help you (a second pair of hands is always useful) especially if there are several flights of stairs involved. You don’t want anyone slipping on the steps while holding a heavy vacuum cleaner, for example;
  • Tape down edges of plastic where they meet along walls or floor using duct tape. It will prevent air getting in/out between sheets creating pockets which collect soot when you start sweeping chimney – unless this is what you are trying for? Your choice! Do not use masking tape as it might leave adhesive residue behind after removing protective coverings at end of cleaning process;
  • Make sure you have enough polythene sheeting to go around the entire fireplace. If it is a large area, make use of your ladder by asking someone else to help hold one side while you stretch other half across chimney opening for example – remember two people are better than one! It will also prevent soot falling on surrounding furniture or carpets in room below if sweep drops ash down while cleaning inside firebox/chimney flue etc.;
  • Leave plenty of time before starting work because there will be several hours involved especially if you decide not to hire somebody and do this yourself instead. You can always get someone over just briefly at start and end stages but, ask them what their experience is in cleaning your type of chimney. There could be different techniques required depending on the materials used (brick/steel/fire clay).
See also
How to Install a Chimney Liner (User’s Guide)

Environmental Protection

We all need to keep our surroundings clean and healthy, not just for us but also for the coming generations. The same goes with your chimneys too! If they’re dirty or full of debris, you can be sure that is going to affect your health as well as safety. Cleaning them regularly is one way of ensuring their safety from harmful elements such as carbon monoxide poisoning which is extremely fatal if inhaled by anyone including pets and kids who are more susceptible than adults.

Clean fireplace jacks every month before using it again because creosote may cause fire accidents while burning wood inside it during winter seasons when there’s no sign of rain at all outside.

Safety Tips

  • Be careful while climbing or standing on a ladder. Don’t stand too close to the wall and stay far from it when cleaning with a brush.
  • Make sure your clothes are not loose so they don’t get caught in moving parts of chimneys. Wear sturdy shoes that have non-slip soles, if you will be working on top of a roofing shingle surface. It is also important to wear protective goggles, gloves, boots and other necessary equipment for preventing injuries during work time.
  • Keep your children and pets away from the work area. They might get injured by sharp tools or chimneys surfaces that are too hot to touch.
  • Never smoke when working on a chimney.
  • Be careful while climbing or standing on a ladder. Don’t stand too close to the wall and stay far from it when cleaning with a brush. Make sure your clothes are not loose so they don’t get caught in moving parts of chimneys. Wear sturdy shoes that have non-slip soles, if you will be working on top of a roofing shingle surface. It is also important to wear protective goggles, gloves, boots and other necessary equipment for preventing injuries during work time.

Keep your children and pets away from the work area. They might get injured by sharp tools or chimneys surfaces that are too hot to touch. Never smoke when working on a chimney.


How often do I need to clean my chimney?

Every couple of years. If you use your fireplace regularly, it is a good idea to have the flue cleaned and inspected by a professional once or twice per year for safety purposes. You should also check in with them yearly if you don’t burn wood on regular basis as creosote can build up fast when not used enough.

What is creosote?

Creosote buildup on the inside of your chimney can be hazardous. Creosote contains impurities that are flammable and will catch fire more easily than clean wood or gas, causing a dangerous situation if not cleaned up regularly. If you notice unburned particles flying around when using your fireplace, this could indicate an accumulation of creosoted buildups in your chimney. It’s time to call for professional cleaning! The safest option is to contact a certified installer who has undergone training by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), so they can inspect your system without putting themselves at risk.

Will I need to replace my chimneyscreen after cleaning?

Yes. If you have a mesh metal chimneyscreen, it will need to be replaced after your cleaning appointment. Mesh screens are usually installed for safety purposes and prevent larger items from accidentally falling down the flue of your fireplace into the firebox or out through the bottom of your hearth opening. Once these large particles are removed, there is no longer any reason to keep this screen around which creates an unnecessary risk – better safe than sorry!

How do I know if my home has a cleanable liner?

Before deciding on how frequently to schedule professional inspections/cleaning appointments, you’ll want to make sure that your chimney system does in fact contain one of several types of liners.


There are many reasons to know how to clean chimney. You can use it as a party trick, or you may even need it for survival in the wilderness; but most importantly, you should be concerned about your safety if there is an obstruction in your flue pipe. There are several ways to make sure that the airflow remains smooth and efficient within the system without any blockages along its route. Knowing these methods could also help save money by preventing expensive repairs later on down the road!