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 How to sweep a chimney top to bottom

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Top to bottom method

Wonkee Donkee Cowls require removing prior to the chimney or flue being swept

Step 1 – Remove cowl from chimney

Some chimneys and flues have a chimney cowl fitted, which are devices designed to help prevent wind blowing the smoke back down into the room below.

They also have a secondary purpose of preventing birds or other animals from making nests in the chimney.

Wonkee Donkee Removing a Cowl prior to sweeping a chimney or flue If your chimney has a cowl fitted it should be removed to ensure the whole of the chimney length is swept clean. Most cowls simply lift off or have a couple of bolts to loosen before removal.
Wonkee Donkee Measure your chimney to ensure you choose the correct sized brush

Step 2 – Measure your chimney

Measuring your chimney will allow you to choose the correct sized brush needed to clean it.

It is important to get an idea of what your chimney is like because there are many chimney brushes available, including round, square or rectangular, in a variety of sizes from 50mm to around 300mm (2″ to 12″).

Wonkee Donkee Inspecting the Chimney prior to sweeping the chimney

Step 3 – Inspect chimney

If it has been some time since the last time you used your chimney, or if you have just moved in to the house, check for animals before you begin cleaning.

Birds and squirrels have been known to make their homes in chimneys, so shine a bright torch down the chimney, and if you find an animal, take steps to have it removed.

Wonkee Donkee Checking for creosote and tar to enable you to choose the correct chimney brush and tools Whilst inspecting the chimney for animals it is also a good idea to check to see how much creosote/tar has built up within the chimney. This will determine the type of brush that you will need and the amount of brushing required.
Wonkee Donkee Blocked Flue due to inadequate sweeping This 200mm (8″) chimney has been reduced in places to 50mm (2″) due to creosote buildup.

When a chimney is blocked to this extent it will require the use of specialist tools and should be done by a professional chimney sweep.

Wonkee Donkee Covered Fireplace in preparation to sweeping the chimney

Step 4 – Prepare room

Lay a tarpaulin or dust sheet over the hearth and spread it into the room to protect the carpet.

Take another sheet or tarpaulin and tape it around the fireplace to prevent any soot from entering the room. Shop for Dust Sheets & Dust Covers

Wonkee Donkee Choosing the correct sized brush to sweep your chimney

Step 5 – Choose right brush

Always ensure you choose the correct brush for the job.

 

The brush should be 15mm (0.5″) wider than the chimney. (Please see, How to choose the correct chimney rod brush.)    

Wonkee Donkee Sweeping the chimney from the top down to the bottom

Step 6 – Begin sweeping down chimney

Push and pull the brush up and down the chimney vigorously one metre at a time.

If the chimney is round, ensure you twist the rods in a clockwise direction as you push and pull the rods down the chimney.

Wonkee Donkee Cowls require removing prior to the chimney or flue being swept As the brush moves down the chimney, continue to add rods until you have been able to brush down the entire length of the chimney.

Using a bright torch, reinspect the chimney ensuring there are no creosote deposits left within it.

Wonkee Donkee refit cowl afetr the chimney has been thoroughly swept

Step 7 – Refit cowl to chimney

Refit the cowl to the chimney, tightening any bolts that were loosened in order to remove it.

Wonkee Donkee Remove sheet from fireplace after the chimney has been swept

Step 8 – Remove sheet or tarpaulin from fireplace

Carefully remove the sheeting or tarpaulin taped across the front of the fireplace.

Wonkee Donkee Soot in fireplace after chimney has been swept

Step 9 – Dislodged creosote and soot

The soot and creosote from the chimney should have collected at the bottom of the fireplace

Wonkee Donkee Brush and dustpan being used to clean soot after chimney has been swept

Step 10 – Finish job

Use a brush and dustpan to clean up the debris from the fireplace.

Finally, remove the dust sheets and vacuum around the fireplace.