can u chimney sweep yourself

Old 12-28-05, 05:01 PM
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can u chimney sweep yourself

title says it all, but is there a way to be your own chimny sweep, the local price is $ 125 for a 1 story ranch style home chimney to be this way too much to jam a brush up and down on a stick, we are renovating the room as we speak so making a mess is not a real concern..thanks
Old 12-28-05, 06:16 PM
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You certainly can run a brush up and down your chimney for less than the price you quoted but when you hire a professional sweep they will normally perform an inspection of your chimney.
If you have never done this before and you skip this step or make a mistake your chimney could be unsafe.
Any insurance you (or the owners if a renter) have could be at risk if you fail to properly maintain your fireplace.
You should choose your sweep carefully and be certain they are insured.
Make sure you get a written condition report as well .
Old 12-29-05, 10:34 AM
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I would say if you have an older chimney or are not sure of its condition, you should get a professional cleaning and inspection at least once. After that, assuming the sweep found no structural problems, you don't have a chimney fire, and you burn only seasoned wood, you can certainly clean it yourself. Especially a fireplace, where creosote buildup is much less of a problem than it is for, say, an airtight woodstove.

I've owned two houses with woodstoves, and always cleaned the chimneys myself. Of course, both were newly built chimneys. My current house has a woodstove chimney which I built and plan to clean myself, but also has a 40-year-old fireplace which I had professionally inspected and cleaned right after we bought the place.
Old 12-29-05, 12:36 PM
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Sweeping your chimney yourself is fine. However, the NFPA-211 (an international fire code) "requires" (though they cannot enforce it) that a chimney be inspected annually. The reason? Changes that can occur from year to year that you may not be aware of. One common problem that we see are eroded mortar joints between flue tiles; which can pose a fire hazard. Also, a chimney often used can be subject to heavy deposits of creosote that may not be able to be removed with just regular sweeping.
All in all, if you choose to sweep it yourself please have it professionally inspected at the very least every other year, but preferably on an annual basis. It would also be beneficial if you are able to find a professional who uses a video inspection system (like an endoscopy for your chimney) to inspect your lining so you can be sure of the interior condition.

Have fun and be safe!
A very happy New Year!!!
Old 12-30-05, 01:18 PM
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I searched but could not find any good pictures online of various degrees of creosote buildup. This would be very helpful for me. Anybody know of any?
Old 01-07-06, 10:31 PM
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I did my own chimney sweeping every year for 10 years while I was using a wood stove to head my house. The chimney was lined with a type of special 12" square masonry chimney pipe. I used a customized square 12" wire brush.

Instead of having a handle on the brush (the handle would have had to be 20 feet long) I welded a threaded rod about six inches long to the bottom of the brush. On that rod I placed two ten pound round barbell weights. At the top of the brush I attached a 25 foot rope.

I stood on the roof, the top of the chimnew was about waist high, and I lowered the brush into the chimney. The weights pulled the brush down. When the brush reached the bottom, I pulled on the rope to pull the brush back up. I went up and down about a half dozen times until I was happy that the brush had cleaned the chimney.

Then I had a lot of soot that had been dislodged sitting in the flue area of the chiminey. From the basement of the house I used a ShopVac to clean all the soot up and that completed the job. It was a bit of a messy job but it was worth the cost savings to do it myself.
Old 01-11-06, 01:47 PM
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I went to Lowes and bought a chimney brush and rod kit. It is easy to ram that thing up and down a bit. I can see how much buildup I have before beginning, and when I am done, and guage just how dirty it is. I did have a pro clean mine a couple years ago and it had no problems at all, so I feel more confident cleaning it now. I like being able to observe what, if any, creosote buildup is occuring. I may pay a pro again next Fall just to cover my butt although I can visually inspect mine pretty easily as well as inspectback behind it in the chimney chase.

So, yes, you can do it. Other advice above good too.

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