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Thread: How to clean a chimney?

  1. #1

    Default How to clean a chimney?

    This might be a dumb question, but are there any special tricks to clean a woodstove chimney? Any particular things NOT to do??? I have always just hired somebody to clean ours, but I recently bought a brush and the cleaning rod so I can clean it myself. Is it as simple as it seems, just run the brush up and down the stack a few times?

  2. #2
    Member fishnngrinn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Well, I dont see any responses yet. I am no expert, but I am a committed DIYer. I had a nice soap stone stove in Montana with a 12 foot ceiling. I cleaned that sucker every fall. When I installed the stove I also installed a T for the stack. With the T I could open the bottom and tie a plastic bag around it to catch the soot when I brushed it. I climbed up on the roof and stared the brush down the stack, adding sections to the fiberglass pole as needed. Did a lot of pushing and pulling up and down as I worked the brush downward until it reached the opening in the T. Then pulled it up and out. Lived in that house for 12 years with no flue fire. My 2c. Good luck. If you have a 16ft stack, train for it, it is a work out. Ken
    NRA Lifetime Member

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default chimney cleaning

    It is not a hard job to run a brush up and down a chimney. I had a company for many years doing cleaning, install, sales and service in CO. You are paying for the sweeps experience, knowledge of your chimney and stove installation, getting on your roof, and doing a nice clean job without getting soot in the home.
    If there is a problem with what he sees in your chimney he can tell you what you may be doing wrong as your burning habits.

    What to look for on your chimney?
    Loose or sloppy pipe fittings
    Dripping creosote on the outside of the chimney, inside or outside of the house.
    If the pipe lifts at any point during the cleaning (now you have a problem)
    Be careful getting on the roof
    Proper chimney and brush sizing donít get it stuck.

    This is a general look at what to do, if you have any other questions shoot me a pm

    regards T

    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Leavenworth Wa.

    Wink Chimney...

    I have a friend who's chimney is pretty high above a 24/24 pitched roof.I took his pipe apart in the house Installed about an 2' piece of tire tube.This was a 6" pipe, and the right tube will stretch tight over the outside of the pipe.Then I inserted the first section of the cleaning brush,and before the brush entered the steel pipe, I close off the tube and hold my shop vac in the tube with the ram rod.You can see where this is going.Just turn on the vac and keep adding sections of cleaning rod.Can be done without any mess at all, and no worrys about busting your neck.The only drawback, is this don't clean your cap.We don't use spark arrestors on the cap, as I find this screen clogs too easy, and our burning is done during wet winter months anyway.GR

  5. #5


    Thanks a lot for all the advice! My roof is pretty flat and it's only a single story ranch, so I don't think there will be much to it. I shined a flashlight down the stack and it's actually pretty clean. The top 6-8' has a little black build up (flaky stuff), but I think that will fall right off.

    Sweepint, I appreciate your advice on what to look for and the PM offer, especially. I think I have a good handle on it now.


  6. #6
    Member akfirefighter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    Thought I would bring this up. With the start of winter fast approaching you should clean you stove pipes if you have not done so already. With the recent fire fatality in Fairbanks, we are already off to a bad start for the winter fire fatalities.

    Remember to clean your stove pipe often.

  7. #7


    A guy in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan/ youper brushes the chimey. Then he will take a bunch of rags and plug the chimey from inside the stove. Get up on the roof again and run a soaked rag in kersone up and down the chimey. Toss a lit match down the pipe and look away. Then scrub some more with the brush. If there is any creosote left he will repeat the process.

  8. #8


    If you do not have a brush, you can clean the pipe with a length of dog chain. Dangle it down the pipe and bang it around to clean the inside. My Father in Law did this for years and it works good.

  9. #9
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Anchorage Alaska


    How dirty does it need to be before you clean it? Wife and I are buying a used home with a fireplace. The house inspector said it needs cleaning..I think that they all say that every time as it could be a liability issue.

    I looked up it and there is a very very thin black coating of soot - I don't think it needs cleaned....I am biased though - the roof is 35 feet in the air.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    fishhook, ak


    from 1/8" to 1/4" layer is a good time to clean. 1/4" or more and you should clean. a properly sized stove burning well-cured birch should go a full year without its chimney needing cleaning if you consistently build hot, clean fires in it.

    get it done now (or yesterday, before the snow)

    It's not a good sign that you already seem to have an aversion to cleaning it. Oh, and you cannot see the primary part than needs to be cleaned from the bottom. Creosote builds up on cold flue pipe, which is right where it goes into the attic or through the roof, and above there. You won't get much build-up right above the fireplace, and you can't avoid getting buildup where the pipe turns cold.

    Clean that thing and clean it well, it just isn't that hard.

    FYI fireplaces are generally worthless (for heating purposes) without a good fan. Most of the heat goes into the wall, which certainly isn't where I want it to go.


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