Chimney sweep- Do it myself?

gzecOctober 8, 2005

I have a brick fireplace built with my ranch house in the 1950's. It is interior to the house.

Should I purchase the brushes and do the cleaning of the flue and smoke chamber myself or is it a job I should let someone who does it for a living handle.

I called 3 sweep companies in my area. None of them can come here until November and they are all $140 plus.

FYI I do 90% of all my repairs and maintenence.

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DH & SIL both do it themselvs once a year. That said, we both have outside access for clean-out. I don't know how you'd go about keeping the dirt down unless you'd seal the inside & work from the roof.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 8:13AM
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I have an insert that needs to be cleaned from the roof and I plan on doing it myself, if that's any help.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 1:05PM
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By the way I forgot to mention that the cleaning brush should be the correct diameter for your flue.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 2:14PM
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And according to an ex-BF who was a sweep, the tails are supposed to make you fly when you fall off the roof. The top hat you take off and set near the hearth.

Best of luck with the chimney sweeping, folks!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 12:16AM
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If you are able to get on your roof, do it yourself. If you aren't able to safely walk and work from your roof, hire the job to a qualified sweep. That $140 a year will seem like chump change compared to your new $50,000 hip.

Since you do most of your projects yourself, get online and order plenty of rods and work from the top or bottom of your chimney. If you want to work from the bottom, make sure you buy rods that are short enough you can get them started up the flue. Also, make sure that you not only buy the right size brush, but the right shape for your chimney (square vs. round)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 8:50AM
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It's not just the chimney that needs sweeping, but the inside of the fireplace and especially the lintel. The lower areas will be where the bulk of the stuff will be. Yes, you MUST get inside the fireplace with your body so use a respiratory mask and protective clothing and use the proper tools.

If you don't do this properly, you could be making the situation worse than when you started.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 11:50AM
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I've seen people do some nasty things to their chimneys trying to sweep them themselves. One clown decided that he could use a burlap bag of bricks. He ended up breaking the liner AND getting the bag stuck.

Another guy put his foot through a soft spot in his roof.

Then there was the guy who decided a quick sweep was in order, but forgot to seal the fireplace with plastic.

His wife finally let him back in the house after about 3 years of living in the garage. :-)

If you're willing to buy the proper brushes and go CAREFULLY, it is a project that you can take on yourself.

I would suggest, however, that if you've never had the chimney professionally cleaned and inspected, spring for that first. Make sure that your liner is in good condition, and that the chimney is good and clean.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 2:45PM
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The one that I think gets the booby prize is the older book I found at the library. It actually said to use the top part of a pine tree to use as a brush. I've heard about the burlap bag thing too. It's a shame people publish this nonsense and someone out there will actually listen to it. How about we all just do what they used to do in England many moons ago? Send the very small children down the chimneys with brushes. They didn't live long after that. Hmmm. Wonder why.

And if anyone wants to know a silly bit of trivia regarding the top hat and tails tradition, it's because the mortuary was about the only place that sweeps could find black clothing from.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 2:52PM
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$140+ seems awfully high. I payed $75 last year at about this time for chimney cleaning a split-foyer house (2 story chimney). I live in Baltimore.

I agree with kframe; if you are a new owner of the house, I would have the chimney cleaned professionally so you can get an evaluation of the condition of your liner. You can watch how a "pro" cleans the chimney and educate yourself for when you do it next time.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 3:36PM
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$140 probably isn't all that bad in New Jersey, given the general cost of insurance (health, vehicle) in that state.

"Top of a pine tree"

Hey, I know what I'm doing after Christmas!

I never thought of the Christmas decorations as being multi-taskers...

Would it matter that my tree is artificial? :-)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 4:40PM
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