Chimney Liners

Old 11-10-02, 09:11 AM
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Chimney Liners

I have just purchased a 15 year old house. One of the features which we used to decide on this house, was the glorious family room, complete with a fabulous hearth and wood fireplace. After about a month of moving in, I started preparing for the oncoming winter, which included having the chimney swept (cleaned). Every contractor I called in (5) basically told me the same thing - even though the chimney itself is in great shape (inside and out) they cannot clean it since there is no inner metal liner attached to the air-tight wood insert. Each one of these jokers also proceeded to tell me that for between $800 and $1200 they could install a liner, and solve my problem. I don't think I have a problem. The people I bought the house from didn't have a problem. Apparently, about 7 years ago, a bylaw was passed (I live in Canada) which required new homes with fireplaces to have metal liners to be installed. So now, chimney sweeps have abused this bylaw to suit their own greedy needs (in other words - they will only clean your chimney if you have a liner, and if you don't, you'd better be prepared to do it yourself - unless of course you buy one from them). My question is this - I'm pretty sure that it would be OK to use my fireplace without the liner - has anybody out there ever cleaned out their own chimney? If so - insight would be welcome. I know the previous owners used the fireplace without any problems. Does anyone out there think my attitude towards this matter is unreasonable and fool-hardy?
Any insight would be much appreciated - and thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy diatribe.
Old 11-10-02, 09:55 AM
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Woodstoves build up far more creosote (the fire hazard) in chimneys than regular fireplaces, and the flue needs to be cleaned at least once a year.
You can buy your own chimney cleaning kit for your fired clay liner chimney at most big box stores.
All that you need to know is the shape and interior size of your chimney flue (a trip to the roof with a measuring tape), and get a chimney cleaning wire brush (rectangular or round) kit to match it. The rods just screw together, and you need enough to reach from the top of the chimney to the top of the wood stove.
Seal off the wood stove (cold), and work the brush up and down as you feed it down, and clean it from the top down. After the dust settles, clean out the wood stove.
It's not that difficult. Just messy.
Good Luck!
Old 11-10-02, 08:50 PM
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Thanks, old guy. I don't really want to spend a grand on a fireplace which looks in such good shape. The previous owners sure took good care of it, and with your input I'll be able to carry on their good work.
Thanks again.

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