How to Clean a Chimney

cleaning chimney How to Clean a Chimney
Fireplaces have been getting a bad rap lately as they are to blame for pollution, losing heat, and being an overall hazard, but some of us still love the sound, feel and smell of a wood burning fireplace. One of the main issues with a wood fireplace is the build up of creosote in the chimney which can create a fire hazard.
It’s best to burn your fire as hot as possible which leads to less smoke but also clean your chimney on an annual basis. Here’s how.
1. Remove fireplace components
Everything inside your fireplace should be taken out including wood racks, fake logs and of course old logs and ash. Open the damper if it’s closed.
2. Seal the fireplace opening
You want to create a tight seal around the opening of your fireplace by using a plastic sheet and tape. You don’t want any ash or dust to enter your home through the fireplace.
3. Prepare yourself
Invest in a quality dust mask and eye goggles. Protective glasses aren’t enough. The goggles should be flush to your face on all sides.
4. Remove chimney components
If there is a brush guard or bird grate of your fireplace remove it carefully and lay it on a flat surface where it won’t slide down your roof.


chimney sweep tools How to Clean a Chimney
5. Brush it
Using a chimney brush, begin brushing inside the chimney. Start high and brush all sides and work your way down to the firebox.
6. Replace the chimney components
After brushing, replace any components you removed and carefully get off the roof.
7. Remove fireplace cover
Wait at least an hour before removing the cover to make sure all of the dust and debris has settled. Remove the cover slowly as not to disturb any dust.
8. Clean up
Using a shop vac, suck up all the remaining dust and debris and make sure nothing is obstructing the damper and its clear as well.
9. Replace fireplace components
Put back the wood rack and and when you’re ready, light it up!
photo: W Albey

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Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.