How to Sweep a Chimney

How to Sweep a Chimney

Nothing makes a house feel more like a home than a delightful time spent next to a warm wood fire. The outside rain, trembling wind or heavy snow could do nothing to take our attention from the crawling fire. However, things are getting pretty serious as soon as we realize that there has been done no chimney cleaning beforehand. Fortunately, there is still some time left to get rid of the dirt, before fall or winter comes across. These being said, in case you are interested in learning more about chimney sweep (both as a service and as a do-it-yourself), keep on reading!

What is a chimney sweep?

Technically speaking, cleaning the chimney to avoid accidental fires is a chimney sweep. Each time we light a fire, the smoke goes through the chimney and might come back into our house should the chimney not had been cleaned.

Why is it important to do a chimney cleaning?

Avoiding chimney cleaning might lead to powerful fires, depending on the level of dirt and other materials that can be found through the chimney. According to the people who have actually gone through such a situation, once the fire starts, the fire department would be the only one able to cope with its magnitude. In just a moment, the fire can expand all over the place.

This is due to the creosote gathering, together with organic matter (bird’s nests or pine cones) and soot right in the chimney flue. Seen from a technical perspective, only the wood fires have this problem – the gas-burning fireplaces do have other issues to address.

How much does it cost to sweep a chimney?

If you have ever wondered how much does a chimney sweep cost, you are at the right place. From the beginning, it is important to know that hiring a specialized team to do the work for you implies paying per chimney sweep service. This is basically how most of the companies work. The chimney cleaning cost varies, between $100 to $400. There is also the possibility of doing it on your own, using a proper chimney cleaning kit to help you get going – with a smaller price being paid from the very beginning.

How often should you sweep the chimney?

After finding out how much is a chimney sweep, it’s recommended to do some changes within the family budget and decide when to take it up. You should do the chimney sweep each year, before burning any wood or additional logs on the fireplace. In this way, you can make sure that no smoke (or worse, complete fire) will appear in your house. However, there are people who undertake this procedure not only once, but twice per year (before the fall comes across and after winter has gone).

DIY chimney sweep

Whenever you feel ready to invest in some chimney cleaning tools, the only thing you still need is proper knowledge and how-to. This will reduce the chimney cleaning cost yearly, keeping in mind that buying these instruments happens only once. As for the forthcoming years, paying for a chimney cleaning service will be out of your needs.

To get down to work, here is what you need:

  • Chimney cleaning brush – comes in different shapes and sizes. The proper measurements are done while being on the roof, by looking at the shape of the flue. After noticing it being either square, round or rectangular, it’s time to calculate the length and width;
  • Fiberglass extension rods – it’s highly important, due to the fact that it will carry the chimney brush to help you do the cleaning down the flue. Remember to run the tape measure and get the length of the flue. This will help you find out the total number of rods you will need to buy.

How can I tell if my chimney needs cleaning?

According to the companies specialized in chimney sweeps, it is advised to conduct a chimney sweep each year, either in the last weeks of the summer or during the first weeks of fall. Put as a general note, it’s important to do so before lighting any wood fire of the year.

Nonetheless, here are some great indicators to keep an eye on when deciding if your chimney needs cleaning:

  • Artificial logs being burned on a proper basis;
  • Creosote that is ¼-inch thick or more and can be seen within the flue;
  • Noticing soot and creosote within the fireplace;
  • Once you light up the fire, you see smoke all around;
  • The appearance of creosote that is thick, puffy or infested within the flue;
  • The use of either unseasoned or partially seasoned wood, which is rather hard to burn. Statistically speaking, any wood requires at least six months of time to dry in order to burn properly.

What else should I know?

Keeping your house safe, sound and away from any danger is the same thing as taking care of your family. If you decide to undertake the chimney sweep by yourself, remember to wear a dust mask, together with a pair of thick gloves and a hat. In addition, you can take advantage of some long-sleeve clothing and a pair of safety glasses, which will keep your sight in order while using the chimney brush. This one comes with sharp metal bristles, known to harm the human body should something go wrong.

It is highly recommended to avoid step ladders since they might fall and lead to accidents. Instead, an extension ladder would do, while helping you get to the end of the chimney. However, remember to position the base of the ladder right on a hard surface, either concrete or asphalt.