Remove dust and debris Clean the bottom of the chimney with a wire brush, sweep debris from inside the chimney (and from the smoke tray, if accessible) with a broom and dustpan, replace damper as needed, dispose of creosote properly according to local requirements. There are safety concerns for both professionals and do-it-yourselfers who choose to clean their own chimney flue. From inside the chimney, the person cleaning the chimney is exposed to hazardous materials such as soot, creosote and harmful fumes. A professional quality breathing mask is required.
Professionals do this every day, so maintaining a clean workspace comes naturally to the chimney sweep. Even so, the EPA, CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) say that even chimneys that service the newest wood stoves need to be inspected and be cleaned annually. Like the pros, if you decide to do intermittent chimney maintenance yourself, you will likely need to purchase some items. Whether you decide to call in a professional or try your own chimney cleaning, there are a few essentials you should keep in mind with this particular home chimney maintenance task.
Understanding this foul-smelling rubbery by-product of combustion is essential if you want to know how to clean a chimney. A professional cleaning includes an inspection for soot buildup, blockages, cracks in the chimney liner, and signs of water damage. That said, with the right tools, skills, and knowledge of what to look for, it's possible for an experienced DIYer to clean their own chimney. For example, if your brush gets stuck in a crack and you haven't cleaned the chimney after a long period of disuse, you should call a professional.
Although most people choose to hire certified specialists for the job, read on to learn how to clean a chimney yourself. Both do-it-yourselfers and professional chimney cleaners need to protect themselves from the mechanical and aerial hazards common to chimney maintenance. If you are very comfortable with heights and have experience climbing the roof of your home, it is possible to clean your own chimney. Before lighting the fireplace this season, you should do your due diligence and have the chimney properly cleaned and inspected.
Cleaning the chimney from inside the chimney is one of the most complicated jobs imaginable, so it's best left to professionals. If the chimney is cleaned but the house becomes dirty in the process, then it is an intolerable result. But when and how often do you have to clean the chimney? The answer depends on several factors, such as how often it is used, the type of fuel that is burned, and even the material the duct is made of.