Cleaning your chimney regularly is the best way to prevent dangerous creosote fires, or smoking in your home. Here’s what you need to know before you take this on as a DIY job.
How far can you reach?
In some chimneys, the smoke shelf area is easy to reach with a brush, but in other chimneys it’s nearly impossible. If you can’t reach, call in a professional chimney sweep for the job.
How much build up?
Protect yourself with goggles and a respirator, clean out the firebox, and remove the grate. Using a flashlight and a fireplace poker, inspect the smoke chamber and flue. If you scratch the surface with the poker, and it the scratch is shallow you could be looking at a DIY job. If the buildup is shiny and the scratch is deep, creosote has built up in your chimney, and it’s time to call a professional.
To sweep your chimney, first protect your home’s interior by covering your fireplace with a plastic tarp, and creating an airtight seal with tape. Cover your floor with a canvas tarp. Protect yourself by wearing goggles and a respirator throughout the process.
Start at the top by brushing the flue, working your way down the chimney until you can’t feel any resistance against the brush. Then, move back inside and wait for the ash to settle in your fireplace. Peel back a portion of the plastic tarp and use the brush to clear the smoke chamber. Then, vacuum the fireplace.
Use a creosote removing product throughout the year to maintain your chimney between sweeping.