How To Clean Your Chimney: DIY Sweeping

Our Favorite Reddit DIY Sweeping Hacks

  • One way to clean your own chimney, according to a Reddit user, they climb up onto the roof and ratchet-strap their ladder to the chimney. Then, they push a wire brush down the 30-foot pipe. They tie a rope to the brush and have another person pull it down- though the other person can get a little sooty!
  • Another DIY expert recommends using a rotating chimney sweep. You can use it directly from the fireplace opening. You don’t need to climb ladders or go high. Get a respirator from the hardware store and vacuum up the ashy mess once you are done (Source)

How To Clean Your Own Chimney

Should I clean my own chimney?

It is possible to clean the chimney yourself, but there is something else you should be wondering about.

You should be asking if you should clean the chimney. You should look at your skill level and if this is something that you think you can manage. The safety of your home is at risk.

If you are handy, you can do some of the maintenance on the chimney.

You should have a certified chimney sweep inspect your chimney at least once a year and perform a complete cleaning, including looking for chimney leaks. This will help reduce the buildup in your home and will allow you to operate safely.

If you want to keep your fireplace and chimney clean you can do a sweep between yearly professional cleanings. This is recommended to make sure things are working properly.

It is essential to remove dust and debris. If the chimney is cleaned, but it gets dirty before the next annual cleaning, this can be a big problem.

It is important to control the debris so it is not a danger to the home.

Professionals are trained to do this and they do it every day. It is simple and easy for them to perform.


Preparing or the Clean Chimney Sweep

If you decide to do some of the maintenance yourself you are going to need to get some supplies to help you.

If you purchase the minimum items, you will need to get tarps, brushes, and one or more shop vacuums. This will help you keep the dust from clogging the fireplace. There are some other things that you need to keep in mind.

The Costs

The items needed to do the job correctly can add up. You will need to think of the savings of doing it on your own it’s worth it.

Tools needed for a chimney sweep

  • Heavy-duty cloths traps
  • Eye protection or safety glasses
  • Respiratory mask
  • Rotary brush
  • Rotary tools
  • Extensions rods
  • Gloves
  • Hand brushes

You will also need a ladder so you can reach the chimney on the outside of your home. We do not recommend you go on a ladder this high unless you have been properly trained and can do so safely.

Your home insurance company is going to need to see proof that you had your chimney inspected and cleaned. If you purchase all of these items and learn how to clean the chimney yourself, this does not mean you are in the clear.

You will still need to hire a professional and turn in proof of this to your insurance company.

For most people, purchasing all of these items is too expensive and not worth it. You are spending all of this money and you are cleaning the outside. You will still need to clean the inside of the chimney. There is where most of the danger is.

There is creosote that is found inside the chimney and this is very dangerous.


There are many safety issues for professionals and for those that are looking to clean their own chimney. The person that needs to clean the flue is exposed to toxins, including soot and creosote. They are also around harmful fumes. To be safe a professional level mask is needed.

Risks of getting on the roof

Risks of getting on the roof


If you are not used to climbing on the roof this may be a safety issue. You will need a ladder and fall protection. We do not recommend doing this. You need to use common sense when on the roof.

  • Certified Chimney and Respirator
  • You need to protect your lungs.

The essential thing when it comes to chimney cleaning

If you are calling a professional or doing things by yourself there are some things that you need to know.

1. Protect Your Flooring

Soot can ruin your carpets. You should close off the fireplace and chimney to keep soot out of the home. Expert cleaners can help keep your home clean.

2. Personal Protection

Anyone cleaning out a chimney needs to be protected from hazards. There are ways to stay safe.

3. Proper Items

Having the correct sweeping tools is essential. Rotary chimney brushes are a must. They will make the job easier and put fewer toxins in the air. Hand brushes will be needed to clean the damper, firebox, and chamber.

4. Inspection

Professionals will look over the firebox, damper, smoke chamber, and flue liner in addition to the flue. The flue liner needs a close inspection to make sure it is not clogged. It needs to be safe and a video inspection may be needed with a special camera.

5. Document the Condition

For the safety of the home, you will need to note if any damage is found. This will help you decide if you should repair or rebuild the chimney.

Full Service and Inspection Report

Full Service and Inspection Report


If you have a professional inspect your roof you will get a certified chimney sweep evaluation report. This is needed by the insurance companies especially if you want to sell your home. Care and maintenance of the chimney are needed.

If you go with a certified technician, you will have a detailed report of the condition of your chimney. You will get images showing the chimney after it has been cleaned by a professional.

Cleaning and inspection

If you have your cleaning done by a professional, you will get a CSIA professional cleaning inspection. This will allow you to show that your chimney is safe and has been well maintained over the years.

Once you had your chimney cleaned and the creosote removed this will help make your chimney safe. It will reduce the risk of a fire. This will help protect your entire home and your family.

The chimney inspection will show that the chimney is in proper and working order. This will make the home safe for your family.

Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


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