How to Clean Chimney Flue

The chimney carries smoke and fumes from your fireplace or wood stove. In time, the walls of your chimney flue coat with soot. Soot restricts the flow of air through the chimney and is flammable. This creates a fire hazard. Cleaning the chimney flue requires the use of a properly sized brush. A brush larger than the chimney's internal diameter will lodge in the chimney and a brush too small will not effectively remove the soot from the lining of the chimney flue.

Routine cleaning of a chimney flue reduces fire hazards.

Step 1

Measure the inside diameter of the chimney flue with a tape measure.  This will determine the size of the chimney brush.

Purchase the flue brush from your local do-it-yourself retailer. 

Step 2

Cover the floor in front of the fireplace or wood stove with painter's plastic.  Cut the plastic to length with a utility knife and secure the plastic with duct tape.

Hold one end of the plastic 12 to 24 inches above the front of the fireplace and tape the end of the plastic sheet to the fireplace surround to create a protected work area.  This will keep loose soot from entering your home.

Step 3

Put on a protective suit, respirator and safety glasses. 

Step 4

Assemble the chimney brush per the manufacturer's assembly instructions.  Make sure to tighten each connection of the chimney brush push rod.

Step 5

Slide the end of the assembled chimney brush into the chimney flue.  Push the chimney brush up until you reach the top of the flue.

Step 6

Pull the chimney brush toward you.  Take caution as loose soot will fall onto you and your protective plastic barrier.

Alternate pushing and pulling the chimney brush through the chimney flue until no soot remains on the walls of the flue. 

Step 7

Remove the soot from the painters plastic and the inside of the fireplace or woodstove with a wet/dry vacuum.  Make sure the vacuum filter is in place and clean before operating the vacuum.

Step 8

Dispose of the protective paper suit and painter's plastic after cleanup is complete. 

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Painters plastic
  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape
  • Protective paper suit
  • Respirator
  • Safety glasses
  • Chimney brush
  • Wet/dry vacuum

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