How to Sweep a Chimney (User’s Guide)

This user’s guide will teach you how to sweep a chimney. You might be wondering why someone would want to learn about sweeping a chimney, but there are many good reasons for this! For starters, it is the best way to keep your fireplace clean and clear of soot. It can also help prevent fires in your home by removing blockages that cause creosote buildup. This article will go over everything you need to know in order to successfully complete the task at hand!

Chimneys are essential to your fireplace. They help keep the smoke and ashes from getting into the room, which means it’s easier to get rid of them when you need to clean up. But what happens when they get dirty? It’s time for a chimney sweep! In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about sweeping a chimney: what tools you should use, how often it needs done, and more.chimney sweep

Safety First

As with any type of power tool, it’s important to follow some safety guidelines. First and foremost is to always wear protective gear – gloves and goggles at a minimum – when you are cleaning your chimney with a chimney brush or vacuum tool. You should also never attempt to use one of these tools for the first time without supervision from an experienced user who can walk through how they work and what precautions need to be taken before you start using them on your own. It may seem like common sense but there have been countless stories in the news about people getting injured doing this same task because they didn’t take proper care while using their new equipment!

  • Employees should be trained on how to use the machine.
  • Do not operate without training or supervision from an experienced user – always wear protective gear – never climb a ladder when using one of these tools – keep children away while you are operating it.
  • Ensure that employees have been trained in safe practices before they begin working with this equipment, and provide refresher courses as necessary.
  • Employees should not operate the equipment without supervision from someone experienced with its use.
  • Workers should wear protective gloves and goggles at a minimum, but also strongly consider wearing earplugs to protect against noise-related injuries caused by prolonged exposure to loud machinery.
  • Never allow children near this machine or anywhere you are operating it.

Tools Needed

A ladder (if you’re getting your chimney swept from the roof)

Long handle brush and a small broom. You can also use an extension or retractable dusting wand if you don’t have one of these items on hand. Don’t worry about this too much though, as long as there is some sort of “brush-like device” available to sweep with, it will work just fine. Just be sure that whatever you choose has bristles so it can pick up larger particles like leaves and other debris. If possible, try using something with smaller bristle gaps so that even tiny pieces are caught in between them for easy disposal later on down the line!

A dustpan, whiskbroom and/or vacuum with a hose attachment

This is the easiest way to clean up your chimney once it has been swept because you can just sweep all of the loose debris directly into the pan or bag (if using an electric pick-up device). Some people like to use their shop vac for this but make sure that if you’re going down inside your fireplace hole afterwards that you have something without roller brushes attached otherwise they could cause damage to any brickwork. Rollers are great for carpets though!

A flashlight

Most people use a headlamp but it’s not really necessary as long as you choose something that can stand upright on its own and be used to check corners, crevices or other tight spaces below the fireplace. If possible try using an LED bulb for this because they’re brighter than regular bulbs! You also want to make sure that your light features both red and white lights so that you have options depending on whether or not there are any candles lit in your home at the time. The last thing anyone wants is for their eyes to adjust to bright light only find out later when darkness falls once again that something was missed!

Location of the Chimney

The location of the chimney determines how easily you can sweep it. If your chimney is located on an outside wall, then cleaning becomes much easier. On the other hand if it’s not visible from exterior windows or doors, this makes reaching it more difficult and likely requires a ladder to access its top for sweeping purposes.

Wherever your chimney is located, it should be easy to access. Some homes may have a closet or storage area right next to the fireplace making for an easier time while others will need steps and ladders in order to reach the top of the structure.chimney sweep

If you need to reach the top of the chimney, make sure it’s accessible and not blocked by anything. When choosing a location for your fireplace, consider how easy it will be to access when sweeping season rolls around. Again, if you can’t see the interior from exterior windows or doors, this makes reaching it more difficult and likely requires a ladder to access its top for sweeping purposes.

The best locations are on outside walls so that they’re easily visible and accessible without having to place steps or ladders against them in order to reach their tops during cleaning seasons. For example some homes may have closets next door which would allow easier access while others might require steps and ladders due to storage area being close to the fireplace. Wherever your chimney is located, it should be easy to access.

Preparation for Sweeping a Chimney

If you have a dust pan and brush, sweep the fireplace clean. Sweep out excess ash from previous fires as well as other debris such as leaves or cobwebs before sweeping the chimney.

Remove the grate from inside of your fireplace. Brush or scrape any ashes, soot and creosote on the interior floor of the firebox into a dustpan. Empty it outside in a tightly sealed garbage bag to avoid breathing toxic fumes if you have an old-fashioned metal pail with no lid. Set aside for later cleaning or disposal at a hazardous waste site or landfill that accepts household trash containing ash residue after burning wood.

If you have a gas fireplace, close its main gas valve and open the pilot valves to extinguish any “flames” from inside of your firebox before sweeping the chimney. Then proceed as in Step # next for wood-burning fireplaces as well as those with electric logs or other artificial flames that need no venting.

Open the damper of your fireplace. If you have a wood or coal burning firebox, remove its grate and sweep it clean before sweeping the chimney as well. Continue with next step if needed.

See also
How to Clean Fireplace Glass Doors – (Step by Step)

Once swept and cleaned inside and out, reassemble all parts to their previous positions in order for your fireplace to remain functional once again. So place back into position any pieces that were removed such as grates, screens or flu dampers (a metal flue cover).

The Sweep a Chimney (Step by Step)

Sweep a chimney in an hour sounds like a great weekend project, but it’s actually not too difficult to do. After all, you only need about half the day because you can leave your fireplace closed for the rest of the time so there is no work involved after getting started. You will have to take care when climbing up on your roof though, so if this makes you nervous keep in mind that ladder use requires caution and common sense whether or not you are cleaning out debris from inside your house.

To begin with

  • Put on your work clothes. You are going to get dirty so you need something that is not good for the dry cleaner, and if possible it should cover as much of your body as possible starting with a hat or cap.
  • Dust off any surface areas around where you will be sweeping near enough so they can come into contact with chimney materials without causing an issue. Any dirt kicked up could rise through the fireplace opening putting toxins in your house’s air which is never a safe thing even if temporary since breathing these fumes causes health problems like allergies, eye irritation and respiratory issues such as asthma attacks among many other things (including death). Remember too that some people who may want to help out including kids cannot enter certain places without proper safety equipment so it is one of those things that you will need to do yourself.chimney sweep
  • Put on gloves and a mask for this project because there are toxins in chimney debris such as asbestos which can be very harmful if released into the air, not mention other particles like fine dust from bricks or mortar. You should also avoid letting any kind of skin irritants touch your hands because they could then come into contact with eyes or nose causing pain and inflammation (including redness) severely reducing your chances to escape certain jobs safely depending on their nature. If possible use water proof materials since these protect better against toxic substances than ordinary cloths by keeping them absorbed rather than allowing them back out after some already during washing or dry cleaning.


  • Make sure you have proper safety equipment for this project such as a sturdy ladder, gloves and mask. You may also need to use protective clothing like padded shoes or boots if there is any chance that debris will fall on your feet (or even lower body depending on the work involved). There are special clothes made of fire resistant materials which would be good here but these can get expensive so unless they come with other benefits it makes more sense to wear something cheaper and just replace items after completing this task than try and save money by wearing them long term without washing between uses because dirty cloths do not protect skin from toxic materials very well no matter how much better they probably feel compared to what you had before.


  • Make sure you have a drop (or other) cloth and place it under the fireplace opening before starting to sweep. Beyond using this as protection for your floor material, which is always good because then there will be less noise too making things easier on everyone including any pets or children who may happen by during cleanup time, it also keeps dust from flying out into your house where people might breathe them in without realizing how harmful they can be. Also remember that just getting some of these toxins onto clothing means they could rub off again so removing anything contaminated at the earliest opportunity makes sense especially when safety is involved. If possible try doing this project outdoors though if space allows since the chimney needs to come off anyway and covering up the area will keep debris from getting into other parts of your home either through direct contact or by being kicked up during this job.

Sweep out things that are loose in order to get them away from the fireplace opening so you can clear it thoroughly. The more material you remove here, especially if it is light enough where even a gentle breeze could blow some away likely putting toxins back inside your house again, the better because every little bit means less chance for something dangerous to escape while cleaning later on which makes all kinds of sense unless there is no option but to leave these materials behind right now due to lack of time/resources (or space).

Remove bricks and mortar using a metal brush with stiff bristles which allows for better cleaning more quickly by scraping away these kinds of materials. You can also use a vacuum to suck up some of the lighter stuff which is especially useful since it doesn’t require you to climb down your ladder each time with heavy objects in order to take them away for disposal later on.Rutland Products PS-3 3-Inch Round Pellet Stove Brush Black

Remove any creosote buildup using either an open flame if there are no flammable items nearby or special chemicals designed specifically for this purpose that do not produce toxic fumes when burned though without proper ventilation they still cause health problems even beyond what was originally present so try and keep everyone safe here including yourself as much as possible because nobody wants breathing issues just from taking care of their house now do they?

Sweep everything into a pile at the fireplace opening and make sure to get all the way down into the hearth (the area at the base of this structure) if possible.

Use a small brush or other tool to sweep around inside where there may be creosote buildup you couldn’t otherwise see which is especially important after removing these things with an open flame because no matter how careful you are, fire can sometimes miss spots so take care not to skip any areas here that could potentially be dangerous later on when trying to use this appliance again.

Check for cracks in bricks/mortar by tapping various points along each side of your chimney gently using either something like a screwdriver handle or even just another brick carefully moved through your hands but doing so carefully so you don’t break anything. If there are any areas that sound hollow, which would be a sign of structural issues, then this is what you need to look into since replacing these parts could end up being much more expensive in the long run otherwise when something larger fails later on from not taking care of it now before further damage occurs and causes even more problems down the line making things worse rather than better for everyone involved.

See also
How to install Lead Flashing around a Chimney?

Sweep or vacuum everything else away including dust/dirt loosened by your scraping efforts earlier which takes nothing but time if done right so make sure you have plenty available especially with all this additional material going out via trash bags (and other containers) after such work has been completed here.

You can also use a scraper or other sharp edge to remove built up creosote if you don’t have chemicals on hand for this purpose which is useful since some of the stuff produced during burning may not be hot enough to melt away especially when it has been allowed to build up over time making this more difficult than usual so do what works best in your case here as there isn’t one size fits all solution available.

Cleaning Up and Storage

If you’re done with your chimney sweep training, remember to put all of the tools back where they belong. When not in use, hang up your brushes on a nail or hook so that their bristles are kept safe and clean. If it isn’t possible for you to store them at home because of space limitations or other reasons, ask if there is anywhere else where you could leave them until next time. Keeping them off the ground will help keep dust from collecting on them while they wait their turn again!

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never let your chimney brushes sit for too long. If they’re left unused – even with the best of care at home, they can become unusable fast because of rust and oxidation. Wipe them down with a rag or cloth if it happens, but be sure to get back into training so that this doesn’t happen again!

Remember: when not in use, store your tools off the ground on nails or hooks! Don’t leave them laying around for too long though; wipe clean if needed but get back into training soon after!

Environmental Protection

Do you really want to be burning wood for hours on end? By sweeping the chimney, we can help your home stay environmentally friendly. Not only that but with a clean and safe chimney you will also reduce any fire risks in the house (and of course increase efficiency too).

A dirty or poorly maintained fireplace can do more damage than good when it comes to heat output from your stove. This is because soot builds up over time which blocks airflow through the venting system. The result is less efficient combustion and increased fuel consumption as well as higher emissions! In order to avoid this, sweepers should ideally perform their duties every year after heavy use during winter months. However if one follows these steps frequently they may choose to have their chimney swept more often.

Safety Tips

  • Chimneys need to be swept. It is important for safety and functionality of your chimney that you do this every year or two, depending on the amount of use it gets. Many houses have fireplaces in them but not all can actually function as intended due to a dirty chimney flue which stops the smoke from traveling up through the chimney and out into the air where it’s supposed to go. This happens when soot builds up over time and prevents heat from rising upwards freely, leaving hot fumes trapped underneath instead until they escape under pressure – usually resulting in damage such as cracks around windows and doors, stains near bricks and mortar joints (especially above roofs), increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning (a silent but deadly killer), and the like.chimney
  • By sweeping a chimney yourself, you can solve these problems and help to ensure your family’s safety. It is not an arduous task but it does require some knowledge of how the process works, what tools you will need on hand, and what dangers lie ahead if precautions are missed or ignored. The following guide aims to provide this information so that homeowners everywhere might benefit from safe chimney sweeping practices which don’t just get rid of grime but also improve living conditions for everyone around them!
  • Call a professional sweep in advance to schedule an appointment before beginning any brushing up activities. Make sure they know when their services will be required as well as exactly where the house/building is located.
  • Make sure that the roof and surrounding area are clear of debris such as leaves, twigs, branches or other loose material which could fall into the chimney when it is opened up for brushing purposes. These things can easily cause damage so they need to be taken care of beforehand if possible. Even better would be a closed patio with an overhang above where you won’t have to worry about anything falling in from above during your sweep-up project!
  • Gather all necessary tools before beginning: mesh brushes (with protective guards), brooms/brushes, dustpan and brush set, vacuum cleaner – preferably one with a HEPA filter – safety goggles and gloves (very important!), heavy duster, chimney brush (if you don’t have one of these, a long-handled wire brush will suffice), and chimney cleaning wipes. Be sure that any tools which can be used in an oven or grill are kept away from such appliances to prevent accidental fires or flareups while you work!
  • Be very careful not to drop anything down the flue as this could cause a blockage further down which might need professional attention to resolve. Wear gloves at all times while sweeping up so that your hands do not get burned by falling debris – especially if hot embers fall into your fiberglass brushes during the process! If they catch fire, smother them with heavy duster rather than water since it is more effective for putting out such fires.
  • Take care not to sweep anything into the firebox as this could cause a blockage which might require professional attention or, at worst, an explosion inside your house! Use dustpan and brush set with mesh brushes whenever possible so that small pieces of debris don’t get stuck in a broom’s bristles and fly off onto another section of wall/flooring while you work – especially if there are pets around who love to chase things like brooms being used for sweeping up purposes! If they pick up any loose material from the ground during playtime activities, keep them away from fireplace areas as their paws can carry embers outside even when they aren’t lit – causing great damage wherever those embers land!
  • Take your time and do not rush as this can result in accidents such as slipping or dropping things (which might cause injuries), burning yourself, letting hot embers escape down the chimney – causing damage to flue lining over time – or sweeping up ashes which have been left behind from a previous fire. Even if you don’t think they are doing any harm where they lie these days, it is essential that nothing be swept out of place until you know for sure what caused them to accumulate there in the first place so that future fires aren’t started by accident due to negligence on your part. These materials need to be disposed of properly at all times since each one could serious hazards if handled incorrectly.
  • Instructions: -Find the damper and open it up to allow for easy access when you are ready to sweep everything out of your chimney. If there is no way to do this, ask someone who knows what they’re doing about how best to proceed with your project so that no damage occurs in the process which could cause further problems down the road!
  • -Using a broom or brush attached securely onto dustpan handle, carefully sweep all loose material away from the edges before moving inward towards center/firebox area where things might be more concentrated due to recent use by people living inside (or an infestation of pests such as mice). Make sure not get anything stuck on bristles (if using a broom) or in the dustpan’s grill (if using a brush with attached handle/dustpan), then deposit debris into an appropriate receptacle for disposal.
  • -Using mesh brushes, carefully sweep all loose material away from edges towards center where there might be more concentrated amounts due to recent use of fireplace by family members living inside
  • -Use vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter attachment to clean out firebox area thoroughly without disturbing anything that has fallen down between its crevices over time – remembering to remove spark screen before attempting this! Make sure not get anything stuck on bristles or in hose during process and keep pets away until finished since they love running through these areas while you work! If any rodents are caught within your home after you have swept up all material from this area, keep them away from fireplace areas as their paws can carry embers outside even when they aren’t lit – causing great damage wherever those embers land!
  • Once finished with sweeping process bring vacuum cleaner hose to the damper and insert HEPA filter attachment into it so that you can turn on vacuuming system while still being able to work without having dust go everywhere. Make sure not get anything stuck in hose during process (like your previous sweepings) and also be careful about making too much noise near open firebox/chimney since rodents don’t like loud noises and might attempt escape if startled by such sounds! Also remember to put spark screen back into place before leaving area.
  • Now that things are nice and clean all around, you need to make sure the damper is shut back into place with a certain amount of force (this can vary depending on fireplace type) so as not to cause any accidents later on when trying to open it up during fires! If there is no way for this step to be completed, consider asking someone who knows what they’re doing about how best to proceed in your project so that future fires aren’t started by accident due to negligence on your part. These materials need to be disposed of properly at all times since each one could serious hazards if handled incorrectly.
See also
What Is Creosote Buildup (How to Get Rid of Creosote Buildup)?


What does it mean to sweep a chimney?

A number of things. Your first step is determining what type of fireplace you have at your home or business, as there are different ways to clean each one. If you need assistance with this process, contact the professionals!

How does sweeping a chimney work?

The first step is to vacuum out your fireplace, removing any left over ash or soot. After this process has been completed, the next step would be determine if you are ready for a full sweep of your chimney system.

What types of materials can I use when cleaning my home’s chimney?

Depending on what type of property that you have at your residence there are different chemicals and tools that will help make sure it reaches its optimal cleanliness state. If you are in doubt, contact your local chimney sweep company for more details.

How do I schedule my chimney sweeping appointment?

We’d be happy to assist with the process of setting up an appointment time that works best for both parties! Just give us a call or shoot over an email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

How often should I have my chimney cleaned?

This is a great question! As this can vary depending on your specific needs, it’s best to discuss the matter with someone who has experience in the industry. This way they can give you an accurate estimate for how long between cleanings would be ideal based upon what type of fireplace system that you are using.

What will happen during a typical sweep appointment?

First thing, our crew member will go over any specifications or details about your home before beginning work so we understand exactly what needs to take place and see if there's anything new since last time. After this process occurs, next up would be cleaning out all debris from inside of the unit.

What are common problems that arise after a chimney cleaning?

There are no major issues that typically occur during the process of having your fireplace cleaned. However, you should be aware if there were any signs present before the worker arrived to avoid unnecessary worry or alarm. Contact them immediately so they can come back and assess what may have happened!

How much does it cost to clean my home’s chimney?

This is one of those questions with an answer that varies depending on location along with other factors such as how many stories exist within your property, if additional repairs need taken care of etc. You will likely want to schedule a consultation appointment first then at this time we will determine what needs done and provide you with an upfront cost.

What are the benefits of using a professional cleaner?

Outside of making sure your fireplace is clean and ready for use, this will help to avoid any potential issues that could arise in the event it's not dealt with appropriately or on the appropriate schedule. The last thing anyone wants is damage done to their home due to neglecting regular maintenance!


Hopefully, with these points in mind and the right approach to chimney sweeping you will be able to achieve a clean fireplace. It’s best if it is done with professional help but that may not always be an option. As long as you remember everything we said here today, then there shouldn’t be any problems! Best of luck!