Know When and How to Clean Your Chimney’s Flue

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The chimney flue is the opening that allows the escape of smoke or exhaust gases from the chimney. Because of the work it does, the flue will become pretty dirty and need to be cleaned. It is a good idea to know when it is time to clean the flue so that your chimney and fireplace can continue to work efficiently.

Signs that Your Chimney Flue Needs Cleaning

Although the standard is to have your chimney cleaned at least once per year, it is not always the best approach. A chimney may need to be swept more frequently depending on frequency of use and the type of wood used. Some signs that can indicate that your chimney as well as the flue need cleaning are:

  • Soot falling back into the fireplace
  • There is a strong smell of soot and smoke coming from the fireplace
  • If there is a heavy build-up of creosote

Tips for Cleaning a Chimney Flue

It is not only important to know that the flue needs cleaning, it is equally important to know how to clean it. If you use your chimney often, you can do some cleaning yourself in-between professional sweeps. Items you need if you are cleaning the chimney yourself are:

  • A good flashlight with a powerful beam
  • A chimney brush
  • A ladder
  • Goggles to protect your eyes
  • A dust mask
  • An apron to protect your clothes
  • Protective covering for furniture

Get on top of the roof and use the flashlight to check the flue for birds’ nests, leaves, and other kinds of debris and remove them. Next, cover furniture that is close to the fireplace. Close off the fireplace to keep soot from getting into the house.

Next, attach the chimney brush to a long, flexible rod and slowly push it down into the chimney. The next step requires that you very slowly pull the brush back up. You will need to do this a number of times to get the flue clean.

Finally, using the flashlight check the flue again to confirm that you have removed all the debris. If there is any debris left, you need to repeat the process. Once you are satisfied, you will need to vacuum the area around the fireplace to remove any soot and dust that may have gotten in.

If your chimney has a heavy build up of creosote, it is dangerous as it can cause a fire. If the creosote is more than a quarter inch thick, get it cleaned before you next use the fireplace. You can clean the creosote and the flue yourself, but it is always better to get a professional cleaning done.

The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are well-trained and highly certified. Call us at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment with a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep in Drexel Hill or the surrounding areas. We will help ensure that your chimney is ready to face the quickly-approaching winter season without issue.

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