Cleaning your chimney regularly is essential to your home safety. As you use your fireplace, a layer of flammable creosote builds up along the inside of your chimney. Once it becomes too thick, even a small spark can set it on fire, taking much of your house along with it. In fact, creosote fires are some of the most common and most dangerous home fires.
Chimney Cleaning Supplies
Most people are familiar with the most important tool for chimney cleaning in Atlanta: the long-handled chimney brush that has been associated with chimney sweeps for centuries. Most come with stiff wire bristles, although you’ll need to search for one with softer bristles if you have a metal chimney liner. In addition to your brush, you’ll need other tools to do a thorough job, including the following:
- Shop vac
- Small dustpan and broom
- Flexible brush such as a noodle brush
- Ladder (if working from your roof)
To make the job easier–and safer–stock up on these supplies as well before attempting to clean a chimney:
- Safety goggles
- Dust mask
- Safety harness (if working from your roof)
- Drop cloths to cover your floors and furniture
Chimney Cleaning Methods
There are 2 main strategies for cleaning a chimney. The first is to start from your roof and gradually work the brush down your chimney. The main advantage to this strategy is that you can seal off the fireplace at the bottom, protecting your belongings against soot and ash. However, not everyone has access to their roof or is comfortable working on the roof.
The second way to clean a chimney is to work from your fireplace. It’s safer but messier, since you can’t seal off your fireplace.
When to Call the Professionals
Not all chimney cleaning in Atlanta can be done by amateurs. Many chimneys are difficult to access or provide other challenges that homeowners aren’t prepared to handle. Call a professional if you can’t reach every inch of your chimney–you don’t want to risk creosote building up in the spots you miss. You should also call a professional chimney sweep if you have a particularly thick creosote buildup, since this can be difficult to remove on your own.