Chimney Sweeping Basics
Why you should clean your chimney
Creosote is highly flammable and can easily fuel a chimney fire. Removing
combustible creosote and soot accumulation on chimney walls also improves the draft needed by the stove or fireplace for efficient heating. Routine inspection and periodic cleaning through the winter heating season combined with scheduled use of creosote and soot reducers provide the effective solution for trouble-free performance.
- Wear appropriate eye protection, gloves and an approved dust mask.
- Cover fireplace opening or stove and all rugs and furniture in work area. Soot and corrosive debris from cleaning may cause damage.
- Use caution when handling brushes. Spring-like wire can injure eyes and puncture skin.
- Keep brushes and tools away from children.
IMPORTANT: If you have tar like creosote deposits or other buildup that is not removed by brushing you should stop using your wood burning stove or fireplace and contact a chimney sweep who can evaluate the situation. You may have a dangerous buildup of flammable materials in the flue.
Selecting the Correct Brush Size
The interior chimney opening will vary. Carefully measure both the width and length inside of the chimney flue opening to determine the correct brush size to select.
*An oversized brush will not improve cleaning action and could become lodged in the chimney. An undersized brush will not provide the pressure on the walls for proper cleaning.
Selecting the Correct Extension Rods
Rods are available in several diameters, materials and with several degrees of flex. Most importantly, the thread size must match the threads on the rods. Make sure you have enough extension rods to reach the full length of the chimney.
Prepare for Sweeping
- Completely extinguish the fire and be sure the chimney is cold along its length before you begin.
- Seal off fireplace or stove opening to prevent soot from entering the room.
- Vacuum up residue prior to using stove or fireplace.
- Check for debris behind damper, in elbows, and tee connectors.
- Clean brush after every use.
Choose Your Desired Sweeping Method
TOP DOWN - (Most Popular Method and Effective)
Have enough chimney brush rods of sufficient total length available to sweep the entire length of your chimney. Attach the brush securely to the rod and lower into the top of the chimney. Add more rods as necessary to reach the flue bottom.
BOTTOM UP FLEXIBLE ROD METHOD
Insert brush and rod up through the fireplace damper or chimney clean-out door. Add more rods as necessary to reach the top of the chimney. This method is often messy!
PULL RING, LINE AND WEIGHT METHOD - Fixed Cap
Needed: Pull ring, Weight, & Rope longer than the chimney. Thread the rope through an opening in the side of the cap and drop one end of the rope to the bottom of flue. Thread the rope through an opening in the side of the chimney cap and drop one end of the rope to the bottom of the flue. Attach one end of the rope to the loop end of the chimney brush. Attach a pull ring to the other end of the brush. Attach a short rope to the pull ring and securely attach a compact 20 pound (minimum) weight to the other end of the short rope. From the roof, pull the brush up the length of the chimney, then allow the weight to pull it back down. Work the brush back and forth several times.
LINE & WEIGHT METHOD - Removable Cap
Securely attach a compact 20 pound (minimum) weight to the threaded end of the brush using a pull ring (sold separately) and a short rope. Select a rope, long enough to reach from the top to the bottom of the flue, and secure it to the pull ring on the other end of the brush. Drop the weighted end of the brush down the flue, and pull it back up. Work the brush back and forth several times until flue is clean.
PULL RING & TWO LINES - (Requires two people.)
Needed: Chimney brush, pull ring, & 2 ropes (each of chimney length). Attach one end of the rope to the loop on the chimney brush. The pull ring is put on the threaded end of the brush and the rope attached by the person on the roof. Then the rope is sent down the flue to the other person who can then pull the brush down. Work the brush back and forth several times until flue is clean.