Aug 25, 2016

Fireplace Maintenance: Be Your Own Chimney Sweep

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As cooler weather approaches, it’s time to start thinking about your fireplace. You can easily be your own chimney sweep! Keep safety in mind, and choose the cleaning method that works best for your fireplace. Each method requires special tools. Once you acquire those tools, you’ll have season after season of safe fires in your home.

First, you’ll need to figure out what type of wire chimney brush you need. Fireplaces are different sizes, so measure the opening to determine if you need a round, square or rectangle brush. This will also help you pick the length of the brush you’ll need.

Try out these different methods of cleaning your chimney, and pick the one that works the best for you:

1. Rod (Top Down)*Before starting, close the opening to your fireplace in your house to reduce cleanup* You will need to be on the roof for this method. Use your chimney brush to clean the inside walls, by moving it up and down while applying pressure to the walls. As you get lower, you’ll be able to add rods to your brush handle. This is the classic chimney sweep method.

2. Rod (Bottom Up) – Although this method is safer than the Top Down option, it’s much messier. You’ll be using the chimney brush by inserting it through the fireplace. Lay tarp or cloth around the fireplace for easier cleanup when you’re done. Clean the walls by working your way up, and adding extension rods.

3. Weight*Before starting, close the opening to your fireplace in your house to reduce cleanup* Similar to the Rod, Top Down method, you’ll be working from the roof. Instead of adding extending rods to your brush, you’ll use rope, pull rings and weights. Adding weights to the brush will help maintain its position in the walls. Raise and lower it to scrub the inside walls of the chimney.

4. Dual Line – This method for chimney cleaning is pretty messy, but probably the fastest. It requires two people, and is a mix of the other methods. Rope is attached to the brush on both ends. As one person stands on the roof, another is in the fireplace opening. Each person (one at a time), pulls the rope to scrub the walls.

Be your own chimney sweep with these simple tips. Pick the method that works best for you, and grab the tools needed from your local hardware store. Keeping your chimney clean will make your fireplace more efficient and enjoyable during cooler months.