How To Clean Your Chimney

Home & Garden Blog

If you have a fireplace in your home, you might not realize how dirty your chimney is. This could be affecting your home's air quality and keep you from getting proper heat from the fireplace. A dirty chimney also keeps the smoke from escaping your home effectively. Here are some tips for cleaning the chimney and fireplace.

Supplies Needed

The first thing you need to do if you intend to clean the chimney yourself is gather the right supplies. Certain cleaning tools are needed for this type of cleaning project, all of which you can find at your local hardware store. In order to clean the chimney and fireplace, you will need:

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Drop cloths
  • Long-handled brush with extendable rod
  • Container

Get the Area Ready

The next thing you need to do is get the area ready since this can be a messy job. Start by placing your drop cloths on the floor around the chimney. Spread them out a little farther than you think you need them, as the soot and ash can float in the air and destroy your carpeting. After covering the floors, you want to cover the nearby furniture with the plastic sheeting. Make sure everything in the vicinity is covered for maximum protection.

You will actually be cleaning the chimney from the roof, not the fireplace, so you also want to cover the fireplace hearth with plastic sheeting. If you have fireplace doors, keep them shut, but also use the plastic for extra protection. It is also a good idea to make a path through your home with newspapers or drop cloths so that when you enter your home from the roof, you aren't tracking dirt and soot inside.

Use the Brush First

When you are sure everything is protected, you can head up to the roof with your long-handled brush. Make sure you have a ladder that is tall enough to walk directly onto the roof when you are near the top of the ladder. You shouldn't have to step on the very highest rung, since this is dangerous. You also don't want a ladder that requires you to pull yourself up onto the roof. Place your ladder against the house and walk safely onto the roof toward the chimney. Extend the brush handle as long as it will go, then place it down the chimney. As you move it down the chimney flue, rotate it so it makes a swirling motion as it goes down.

After the brush reaches the bottom of the chimney, use the same swirling motion when bringing it back up the chimney. Pull the brush up the chimney, and knock the creosote loose, then repeat the process. Continue doing this until you lift the brush out of the chimney and it looks nearly clean.

Finish Cleaning the Fireplace

After cleaning out the chimney, you need to head back into your home and clean the fireplace. A lot of the soot and creosote probably fell down the chimney and into the hearth, so this needs to be cleaned. Access the fireplace and start scooping out as much ash and soot as you can, placing it into your container. You can use a small shovel or any other scooping tool. Just be sure it doesn't damage the sides of your fireplace. If you do this regularly, the cleaning job won't be too labor intensive. If you don't have time or the supplies to do this project, you can contact a company like Early Times Home Solutions to take care of your chimney cleaning.

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15 September 2015