Although hiring a professional chimney sweep has its benefits, some homeowners feel confident enough in their abilities to complete this task themselves. Before embarking on this mission alone however, make sure that you have access to all necessary equipment and supplies before trying your hand at DIY chimney sweeping.
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First, ensure that you feel confident climbing onto the roof. Furthermore, gather all necessary tools such as:
1. Wear the Right Gear
Chimney sweeps utilize dust masks as protection from inhaling creosote and ash, as this exposure can result in serious long-term health effects including silicosis, lung damage and even cancer.
Chimneys can become home for animal droppings and nests. Our chimney sweeps will be able to spot these and remove them safely from the property.
Sweeping a chimney can be messy work, so homeowners must prepare by covering furniture with drop sheets or tarps in order to reduce any possible disruption of floors in the process. This will also prevent spillage into adjacent rooms from getting onto surfaces like carpeting.
Professional chimney sweeps offer cost-effective sweeping services and it is recommended that homeowners enlist their help as opposed to trying DIY. Professional sweepers will have access to all necessary tools and equipment needed for quick and efficient chimney sweeping as well as video cameras for clear visibility into their chimney flue condition.
2. Don’t Skip the Vacuum
To DIY chimney sweeping successfully, the first thing you’ll need is an excellent shop vacuum. This will prevent dust and ashes from scattering during cleaning process and getting into areas they shouldn’t.
Vacuum cleaners play an essential role in protecting against carbon monoxide emissions that could escape during cleaning processes. This colorless, odorless and tasteless gas is drawn to hemoglobin in blood, which could become lethal over extended exposure times.
Professional chimney cleaners use long rods equipped with special brushes to move along each flue, using these to remove creosote and soot deposits from within the flues and prevent debris from clogging the fireplace chimney. Inexperienced homeowners, on the other hand, may push debris further down their chimney towards their firebox creating a fire risk.
3. Don’t Forget the Brush
Depending on the condition of your chimney and any potential safety concerns regarding working from heights, you may be able to safely sweep it yourself. We always advise hiring a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep as an expert inspector to first determine whether DIY sweeping would be safe; however, many homeowners find that doing some homework before tackling this task makes the task less daunting.
To assess whether your chimney requires cleaning, shine a flashlight into the fireplace and use a poker to scratch away soot and creosote buildup using matte black scratches measuring no deeper than an eighth of an inch deep with your poker. If these appear matte black in appearance and exhibit only light wear and tear over time, you are probably in good standing to continue.
If the creosote on your chimney has an oily or shiny tar-like appearance or is deeper than 1/8 inch, professional help should be sought immediately. Furthermore, an older chimney with cracks in its clay lining should also be taken seriously when considering this step.
4. Don’t Skip the Inspection
Chimney sweeping involves more than just cleaning; it’s also about inspection. Chimney sweeps are trained to detect anything that might pose a threat of fire or structural issues with their chimney itself, and look out for anything that might lead to such incidents.
Cracked chimney flues or open fireplace dampers may allow carbon monoxide gas into your home, posing a serious health threat as it bonds to hemoglobin in your blood and can quickly kill.
To check, take your brightest flashlight and a fireplace poker and lean into your fireplace, shining the light into both its smoke chamber and flue while using the poker to scratch away soot and creosote build-up. If the scratched area is matte black and less than 1/8 of an inch deep, sweeping may be possible on its own; otherwise professional services are strongly advised! If soot has an oily or shiny tar-like surface appearance or extends deeper than this depth threshold.
Many people try to save time by doing things themselves. Unfortunately, chimney cleaning isn’t one of these projects for novices; the task requires special tools and can be dangerous for those unfamiliar with working at height or handling chemicals.
Doing it yourself may result in damaged chimney components requiring expensive repairs. For instance, failing to remove creosote properly from your fireplace could result in it settling inside your chimney and leading to leakage, potentially compromising the entire home.
Professional chimney sweeps can clean and repair a chimney in just a few hours, as well as offer recommendations that could prevent future issues like cracked liners or flues from occurring in an efficient manner. Their knowledge allows them to identify issues quickly such as cracked chimney liners or flues quickly – saving homeowners both time and effort! These recommendations can also provide peace of mind.