It is important to do annual chimney cleaning to keep you home healthy and safe from fires. It is best to inspect your chimney a few weeks before winter. Wood smoke left on your chimney walls can create creosote build up which can be a dangerous fire hazard. To check if your chimney needs to be cleaned, you can inspect it on your own. Inspect it after 24 hours from your last use so that remaining smoke and soot will settle down.
Start by moving your fire screen to the side and taking a peek inside your chimney with a flashlight. Look for thick black soot along the walls of your firebox. With a fireplace poker or your finger, check how thick the soot is. Is it is about 1/8 inches thick, then you should call in a professional chimney service company to clean it or clean it yourself if you have the proper tools.
If you have to buy chimney cleaning tools, you will need brushes rods, safety eye-wear, traps, a broom and dustpan, a vacuum, and dust mask for your face. To find out what size of brushes you need, measure your chimney flue and get the corresponding broom size. Most chimney flues come in standard sizes of 8" x 8", 8" x 13", and 13" x 13". If your chimney is made of prefab materials, get a plastic poly brush. If you have a masonry type of chimney, go for wire brushes.
To get started with your chimney cleaning project spread the tarp on the bottom floor of your chimney. Make sure the trap also covers surrounding floor areas nearby. Open the damper which is the metal door up inside your chimney. It keeps cold air out when your fireplace is not in use. Now, climb your roof with your rods and brushes. Remove the spark arrestor or chimney cap and check it for weather damage.
The chimney cap is there to prevent a spark from your fireplace from escaping your chimney. Sparks can cause a brush fire if they float to nearby bushes. It can also cause a house fire. The chimney cap also stops birds and small animals from entering your home through your chimney. It also keeps rain water and other debris from entering your fireplace.
Now, put your rods and brushes together and start up and down brushing motion at the inner top part of your chimney. After that is done, go back inside your home to clean the bottom part of your chimney and fireplace. Clean the flute with a short brush. The flute is that area that runs between your fireplace and chimney.
Use a tough brush to clean the lower portion of your chimney. For most chimneys except wood stove chimneys, it is important to clean the bottom portion very well. Use a vacuum and broom for lower chimney cleaning. You can suck out dirt, sooth and ash from the smoke shelve behind the fireplace, from the damper, and fireplace.
If you feel this is a bit of a struggle for you, or you would prefer to hire a business to do the job, then I would recommend looking at chimney sweep portland for handling your chimney cleaning or repair needs.