Chimney Cleaning DIY vs. Chimney Sweep Cleaning

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I’ve seen a lot of hype about DIY chimney cleaning methods and products, and I wanted to address those in today’s blog post. When you cut down to the basics, yes, you can clean your own chimney using a variety of DIY methods. Many homeowners do a great job at maintaining their chimney because they understand what it takes and years of maintenance have made them experts in their own right.

I, however, will not recommend using DIY methods. It has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the structural integrity of your chimney and home, and the safety of your household. Chimney Sweeps are trained professionals who look for many things that can go wrong with the chimney and flue, not just clean out creosote buildup.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) was created in 1983. They’re a peer-driven organization that focuses on the creation of professional standards and consistency for the Chimney Sweep profession. CSIA Certified chimney sweeps must take a 6-day class, pass a one-hour exam, another 90 minute exam on residential codes, and agree to the high standard of ethics which was created by the CSIA.

DIY Chimney Cleaning with a Brush

  • Step 1. Measure the flue and buy a brush that fits snugly. Purchase rods and extensions as needed to reach from the top to the bottom of the chimney.
  • Step 2. Go on top of the roof and remove the chimney cap.
  • Step 3. Attach the rod to the chimney cleaning brush and push the brush down into the top of the chimney flue.
  • Step 4. Push the brush down and pull it back up until the chimney is clean, add rod extensions as needed to reach the bottom of the chimney.
  • Step 5. Use a strong flashlight to make sure the interior walls of the chimney are clean.
  • Step 6. Replace the chimney cap.
  • Step 7. Clean out the ash box, cleanout, or wood burning stove with a shop vac.

Those steps should result in a clean chimney but take care not to damage the flue in the process. The process requires that you are steady on your feet and that you are not afraid of heights. If you feel uncomfortable on the roof at any time, get down and call in a professional chimney sweep instead of risking injury just to save a few dollars.

Regular cleaning keeps your chimney functioning properly regardless of the type of wood you burn. Whether you clean it yourself or hire me to do the job for you, it must be done every year. If you do clean the chimney yourself, hire me for an official inspection to make sure everything is functioning as it should. A second set of eyes never hurt anything anyway, right? Call me at 610-626-2439.

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