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Sweeping your chimney using flue brushes

How often should you sweep your chimney?

You should sweep your chimney with chimney brushes at least once a year, we recommend sweeping twice a year. Always sweep before the winter period when the stove or fireplace will be lit more often.

 

Why should you sweep your chimney?

Essentially when you sweep your chimney with chimney brushes, you are removing tar deposits that are dry and 'crispy', such as are found in the lower portion of the chimney. You won't take out tar that builds up higher in the chimney, where it is sticky and tar-like, and glued to the chimney wall. That is the stuff that causes chimney fires (see chimney liners). When you burn fuel, especially wood, tar is deposited on cool surfaces on the inside of your chimney. This is why many people with stoves line and insulate their chimney - the warmer the flue gasses are, the less tar is deposited.

 

A fireplace has such a large opening that it is often not possible to line the chimney, and uneccessary to insulate, as the flue gases are hotter - see below. If you have a stove, then your chimney will need sweeping more often than if you have a fireplace. This is because a fireplace is a lot less efficient than a stove.  The flue gases are that much hotter with the fireplace as they rise up the chimney - therefore less tar is deposited.

 

How should you sweep your chimney

There are a number of methods for sweeping your chimney but they all have one thing in common - you end up making a lot of mess. Dust sheets (especially in carpeted rooms) are a must. You either sweep from below or from above, and push your chimney sweeping brush into the chimney, attaching rods to make the chimney brush longer as you go. A vigorous up and down motion is a good start.....
When you sweep your chimney, you should also sweep the flue pipe from your stove to your chimney, as well as the baffle plate and inside the stove. This is done using flue brushes. Flue brushes are necessarily much smaller than chimney brushes.

 

What else can you do?

You can use chimney cleaner. Adding this fire addative to your fireplace or stove will help reduce tar deposits in your chimney and therefore the risk of chimney fires.

 

When burning wood, make sure it is well seasoned and dry. 'Green' (unseasoned) or wet wood will take a lot of heat from the fire just to be able to burn. That means that the flue gases will be colder and more tar deposited in the flue and the chimney.

 

 
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