Sweeping of a chimney is not definitely not the easiest of tasks, but with the right knowledge and tools, it’s perfectly achievable. Although, we’d strongly recommend you leave this task for a professional in order to get the best results. However, if you wish to save some money by taking on the task yourself, then you’ve come to the right place! To get started, you’ll need to understand the appropriate tools perfect for your appliance, the right sweeping procedure and technique, as well as why you require an annual chimney cleaning and inspection, So, how do you go about chimney sweeping? Let’s take a look!
First and foremost, you have to identify the perfect brush for your chimney. Use a heavy-duty wire brush for conventional masonry chimney with a clay flue and use polypropylene bristle brush for a stainless steel flexible or rigid chimney liner.
- Detach the rain cap of the chimney
- Use the right size poly, nylon or natural bristle brush to sweep the liner. Make sure that the head of the brush touches the full length of the liner including the tees, terminals as well as connectors.
- Attach the chimney brush to the end of the cleaning rod
- Put the brush down the flue from the chimney’s top
- Guide the brush up and down the flue
- To access further areas and go down the chimney, you should add more chimney cleaning roads to the one in use.
- There some cases that requires the removal of the appliance connectors in order to clean them of any creosote build-up.
- Once you’re done sweeping, make use of a shovel to remove any ash and creosote that has dropped from the flue.
Why it is important to keep your chimney clean
Sweeping of a chimney is not definitely not the easiest of tasks, but someone just has to do it for a number of reasons. You can decide to tackle this by yourself as its perfectly achievable with the right knowledge and tools. However, we’d strongly recommend you leave this task for a professional in order to get the best results. Not only can a dirty chimney constitute fire hazard, but when left uncleaned it can also give rise to blockages which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
In fact, from 2014 to 2018, one of the top factors contributing to about 25% of home heating fires is due to lack of cleaning, mainly from solid-fueled heating equipment, mostly chimneys. Therefore, sweeping your chimney regularly is a safety precaution and when they happen to be on a wood burner, this exercise becomes a lot more important. In this post, we’re going to look at some of the top reasons why keeping your chimney clean should be a top priority. Let’s take a look!
- Creosote buildup. If your main source of fire is wood, then you’ll definitely have creosote present in your chimney. This is highly combustible and its buildup may lead to fire outbreak.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is said to be on the rise by NCBI and its primarily generated from heating systems which are terribly ventilated as a result of uncleaned or dirty chimneys. This type of gas is known to be deadly and you should do everything in your capacity to keep your home safe and free of carbon monoxide.
How To Tell When Your Chimney Needs Sweeping
Chimney sweeping is probably not an activity that comes to mind much often, but the importance of your chimney functioning regularly is not something you’d want to overlook. A crucial step towards achieving this is regular sweeping or cleaning of your chimney. During combustion in a fireplace, all the generated smoke and noxious gases like carbon dioxide needs to be directed somewhere and that’s definitely not right inside your home. Making sure that your chimney is unimpeded is the only way you can ensure that they don’t find their way back inside your home.
Over time, it’s expected that your chimney will accumulate great amounts of creosote or soot while also being blocked by debris which includes materials like bird nests and cobwebs. Sweeping your chimney as at when due and regularly is the trick to keeping your chimney unblocked, thereby preventing dangerous chimney fires and enabling it to perform at a great level of efficiency. However, the question here is, how do you know when your chimney needs a sweep?
- Do you notice smoke fill up the room when fire is lit? When a chimney is blocked, any smoke generated during combustion will be directed back into the room. If you notice this, then your chimney is due for cleaning as soon as possible.
- Do you perceive any offensive odours when the fireplace is not in use? Buildup of creosote or soot can generate bad odours and when left too long in your flue, they pose a major fire hazard. Call in a professional immediately if you start to perceive any odours coming from your chimney.
- Do you notice visible tar deposits in your chimney? When your chimney needs to be cleaned, at times the thick black deposits of creosote becomes visible. If you notice any, then it’s time to call in a professional.
What to Expect When Having Your Chimney Swept
The best practice if you own a chimney is to have it cleaned or swept at least once, if not twice annually if you happen to own a wood burning fireplace. Not only is scheduling chimney service crucial, but also booking ahead of the busy season in the fall is vital. This will provide you with a feedback on the health of your chimney and fireplace while also giving you some tips on how to improve the wood burning fireplace efficiency as well as how to make a proper use of it. These are among the things you can expect when having your chimney swept.
The primary tool that is used during a chimney sweep is close to a huge bottle brush in resemblance. This tool is a large and heavy rod which features metal bristles surrounding the top which are incorporated to clean and sweep down the interior of the chimney. Generally, they’ll insert a drop cloth and make use of a shop vac to reduce soot levels of the home’s interior. Furthermore, they’ll put on their safety gear in form of a mask and goggles to protect both their nose and eyes. The primary objective is to scrape off the debris and dirt which has accumulated in your chimney over time staring from top down or bottom up to make sure that your wood burning fireplace can be used safely and without fear.
On your part, you can prepare for a chimney sweep by ensuring that the fireplace can be accessed with ease. You can move any furniture or décor out of the way and ensure that access to the chimney is clear for a smooth job.
How often should you chimney sweep?
Well, if nothing at all, one thing you should know is overlooking this task can be a fire hazard! When it comes to maintaining and cleaning the home, there are some certain fixtures that are quite easy to ignore and even more so when they happen to be at the exterior of your house (and all the way up on your roof). Chimneys are often on the most neglected list when it comes to cleaning a home and understandably so – they’re usually out of sight and not readily accessible. However, this can pose a serious threat to both the people living in your home as well as your properties. Hence, the ventilation features that are designed to transport smoke outside your house, chimneys should be cleaned on a regular basis.
From 2014 to 2018, one of the top factors contributing to about 25% of home heating fires is due to lack of cleaning, mainly from solid-fueled heating equipment, mostly chimneys. Therefore, sweeping your chimney regularly is a safety precaution. And in addition to preventing fire outbreaks, making sure that your chimney is clean can also go a long way to help prevent blockages which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Being fully aware of the huge importance of ensuring that your chimney is clean at all times, the question now is, how often should a chimney be swept?
Well, it’s strongly recommended that you get your chimney swept and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year. This is regardless of the type of chimney you possess, and if you happen to own oil or wood burning fireplaces, they should be cleaned at least twice annually depending on the usage.
How much does it cost for Chimney sweeping?
If you’re looking to have your chimney swept, then you’d probably want to know just how much it’ll cost to have the job done. If yes, then you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we’ll provide you with some insights on what you need to know about chimney sweeping costs. Let’s take a look!
First and foremost, it must be stated that providing a simple and straightforward answer to this question is nearly impossible as the price for chimney sweeping is dependent on a number of factors. These factors include the type of the chimney, the size of the chimney, location of the property as well as the state of the chimney. However, generally you can expect to incur an average cost ranging between £129 to £810 to have your chimney swept in the UK. The process of sweeping the chimney should only take a few hours to complete depending on some factors like the type of chimney that’s involved. For instance, an unlined chimney happens to be one of the most difficult chimney types to sweep so you can expect to pay relatively more to have this type of chimney swept while also taking longer hours depending on the state.
There are also some additional costs that can arise when it comes to sweeping of chimneys. These includes removing of a chimney breast when you discovered it’s no longer needed. This is a huge job and you can expect to incur within the range of £2200 to £3500 on the average to have the job completed. While sweeping your chimney, you may also discover you need a new gas fire installed and the cost of which will depend on the type of fire you select. You can expect to incur within the range of £300 to £700 (maybe more for London residents) on the average to fit a new gas fire.