How to sweep a chimney

There is nothing quite as cozy and comfortable to snuggle up to on a cold winter’s night as a roaring fire in the fireplace. There is also nothing more disastrous than lighting that fire only to realize (too late) that your chimney is not in good working order.  Getting a chimney sweep is the best way to prevent this problem. As a result, many smart homeowners in Silver Spring and all over the state of Maryland hire chimney repair companies for annual chimney sweeps. 

chimney cleaned by technician


What a Chimney Sweep Does

A professional chimney sweep does more than simply clean out the flue. Although an important part of the job, a licensed, certified chimney expert will also inspect the chimney structure and fireplace to ensure that both are structurally sound and free of obstructions and combustible deposits. This may include dangerous creosote deposits as well as soot and dust. A good inspection also ensures that your fireplace and chimney meets all local fire and building codes.

The flue will also be checked for damage during the annual inspection. Once the initial inspection is completed, the chimney sweep will clean the chimney and flue of all dust, soot and creosote found.

 How to clean a chimney

The primary purpose of a chimney sweep is to identify potential problems and remove dust, soot, ash from the chimney.  A chimney sweep can work from either inside (going in through the base of the fireplace), or from the top of the chimney. In some cases the sweep may utilize both entrances. Either way is acceptable and usually depends on the size and condition of the chimney, access availability, and weather conditions.

When cleaning the chimney, expect your sweep to follow these basic steps:

  •          Setting drop clothes in the area to lay equipment on and catch any dust or soot that may escape during the cleaning process
  •          Setting a vacuum to the contain the dust and soot in the fireplace
  •          Inserting a fitted brush inside the interior flue with flexible rod system to the brush to allow the sweep to make its way through the entire system
  •          Cleaning the interior of the flue and chimney, getting rid of all hazardous build-up
  •          Giving you a complete inspection report for your records
  •          Completing any small repairs to the system which may have been found during the initial inspection
  •          Scheduling your next inspection 

Getting your chimney is an important part of maintaining your chimney and fireplace.  We recommend our chimney sweep company.   We provide chimney sweep service  in Silver Spring and most counties in the Washington DC and Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Areas. 

How often should you clean your chimney

The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 (NFPA 211) recommends that chimneys, fireplaces, and vents should be inspected at least once a year so that the chimneys, fireplaces, and vents are sound, free from deposits, and that all clearances are met.  That is one of the many reasons homeowners should get a chimney sweep every year.  With such an important job at hand, it is vital that chimney sweeps only be performed by a certified expert that knows exactly what to look for and how to sweep that chimney in the safest, easiest and most efficient way possible.  Hiring a professional chimney sweep is the best way to ensure that your fireplace and chimney are in tip-top shape and ready for the season ahead.




6 Replies to “How to sweep a chimney”

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever cleaned my chimney, and who knows who did when there were people living here before me. These are some good tips, especially the inspection. It seems like an obvious thing to do, but I probably need to do that more than anything. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for the help. I think that I need to have my chimney cleaned before this winter gets here. I also have not had it inspected in a while, as you addressed. Would it be possible to have my chimney cleaned and inspected at the same time?

    1. Hi Mr. Knox, I apologize for the delayed response. Yes, you can definitely have your chimney cleaned and inspected at the same time. Our cleanings come standard with a level one inspection. This should be common practice for any professional chimney service company.

  3. I love that you talked about how to clean a chimney and how you can do it by setting drop clothes in the area and a vacuum to help get rid of dust and soot. My husband and I noticed our chimney broke recently and we are looking for a repair service to help us. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us out best.

  4. It’s helpful to know that part of what chimney sweeps do is inspect the flue and chimney for damage and deposits, which should happen at least once each year. My wife and I haven’t had a fireplace before we moved here, and we want to use the fireplace while it’s still cold outside. Having a sweep check it first could help us make sure it’s safe to use.

  5. Thank you so much for talking about where dangerous substances might come from when handling a chimney. I used to think that chimneys just get full of dust and soot and nothing very risky to work with, which made me think I could clean this out myself. Reading your article has proved just how risky this is, so I’ll go look for a chimney sweep expert and have them handle this instead.

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