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Jan 30

How to clean a chimney

Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 in Jobs, Little known facts

My new bloggybuddy Camron at Plenipotentiary left a comment on my last post:

I need to have my chimney swept, and don’t want to fork over the $75. Is this something you could teach me? (Online learning is all the rage now…) You could do a “How Toâ€? post.


Difficulty: None, really.

What you need:

1 monkey
1 chimney cleaning brush and about 8 screw-on poles (depending on the height of your gaff), bought from DIY shop.
1 large sheet
1 empty coal sack or tarp/plastic sheeting
1 bucket
1 small shovel
Roll of Duck tape and scissors or knife
1 apron
Dust mask and goggles if you want to be extra cautious.
1 torch

Got everything?  Then we’ll begin.


– Send the monkey out to the kitchen to cook up an Irish fry, which should be ready by the time you’re finished.

– Clear the fireplace of ash and debris, remove the grate and fire guard.

– Clear the area around the fireplace, and lay the sheet so that it covers as much of the hearth and surrounding floor as possible.  Use duck tape to stick the edge of the sheet to the front of the fireplace.  This ensures that sheet won’t slip and that soot won’t get underneath.

– Cover the front of the fireplace with the empty coal sack, leaving a loose gap underneath.  Use duck-tape to keep the bag in place, but give yourself enough slack to be able to lift the sack to investigate the chimney flue.

– Use your torch to find the damper (if you have one), it’s usually just inside the chimney as you look up,  and open it to allow air to flow freely through the flue.

– Connect the brush head to a pole, and shove it up the chimney.  Jimmy it around to get the immediate soot out.

– The next bit is tricky.  You need to connect another length of pole (twist her tight, you don’t want it to come undone halfway up…), then manoever the brush through the narrow part at the top of the firebox.  You might need a torch to check for progress. 

– From here on in, all you’re doing is connecting each pole length by length as you push the brush further up the chimney.  When you run out of poles, or hit serious resistance, you can probably bet you’re near the top.  Depending on the type of chimney stack you have, you might not want to push the brush all the way to the outside, either way I don’t think it really matters as most of the creosote should be brushed away by now.  There’s nothing wrong with half-assed, anyway.

– Reverse the process, pulling the poles out and disconnecting them as you go.  Do this carefully as you’ll be pulling an avalanche of soot into the grate, especially when the brush arrives back.  Wrap the brush and poles and put them out of your way, then scoop the soot into a bucket.  Brush any remaining blackness onto your sheet, unstick it, and bring it outside for a good shake.

– Done!

– Go and eat your fry-up, pet your monkey, and go have a shower.


Bring on the comments

  1. Granny says:

    Do you rent out the monkey? I like a good fry.

    P.S. Your little Puppychild with the green nose left me with tinselitis. Are you going to do an on line surgery?

  2. Grannymar says:

    ‘Reverse the process’ does NOT mean reverse the way you turn the poles!!!!

    Keep twisting as if locking the poles together. My bungalow needs 11 screw-on poles. I bought the set from Argos many moons ago for £20.

  3. I like the sound of that monkey. I’d rather do the cooking though. Do you think he’d clean the chimney instead? I could make him something bananary…

    Also, the exit thing is ridiculous! A door’s a door, surely. They work both ways unless they’re those silly revolving things.

  4. Medbh says:

    K8, congratulations on your IBA nomination!
    Good luck!

  5. Grandad says:

    TWO nominations! Fair play to ya!!!

    Best Newcomer AND Best Blog Post.

    Congratulations, Kid ;)

  6. Camron says:

    Umm… Ew?

    That was not what I was expecting… (yuk, yuk). (And Yuck!)

    But thanks! You came through for me, sugar!

  7. Camron says:

    Oh, and for any Americans reading – she means a flashlight when she says ‘torch’. I had this horrible image of some do-it-yourselfer trying to lift some Indiana Jones-type thingy up their chimneys…

    That would be bad (even without the monkey).

  8. Baino says:

    Hahaha Eggsellent. Or you could block up your chimmney, put in a gas fireplace and bugger the rest. If you were over here, I’d just tell ya to put on another jumper and a pair of ugg boots and stop carping on about the cold! Ah foik the Americans, a boot’s a trunk, a mobile’s a cell, a flashlight’s a torch, a tap’s a faucet and a lift is an elevator! What next, a fuckin’ shovel is a long handled implement with a flat metal plate attached at the base and sharpened to break hard ground? It’s a spade!

  9. OK, but I have a wood burning stove with a 90 degree flue pipe :-(

  10. Grandad says:

    Thrifty – 90 degrees is warm enough for anyone. Why do you need a stove as well?

  11. Natalie says:

    Baino you forgot that a fanny is an ass…well done on your nominations K8, go get ’em!!!
    About that monkey….

  12. K8 says:

    Mudder; I rented the monkey from the zoo on a same day policy for 50c. It’s a good deal, but the nappies aren’t pretty.

    Grannymar; They still come pretty cheap! I spent €28 for about 10 for a standard two up- two down house. Good pole advice there.

    Jenny; There is nothing uglier than a wound up monkey covered in soot. They are however, mighty good at flipping fried eggs.
    The door thing still has me in a rage. Applied for refund today. *sigh*

    Medbh and Pater; Sound! I wouldn’t have known that but for youz… my incoming links are banjaxed :) Stiff competition, innit? Nice to be in it though *blushes*

    Camron; But flashlights don’t flash… I don’t get it.
    Yes, chimney cleaning is involved, but the added bonus is you get to smack people’s fannys (heh heh) with soot covered hands. Now that’s comedy.

    Baino; There’s always NASA’s ‘Door’ expression – Don’t let the Ingress/Igress facility hit you on the ass on the way out :) I love the way you comment! You crack me up.

    Thriftcriminal; I know. I hate walking right into his jokes too.

    Natalie; I’m such a tool… I thought the Irish Blog Award nominations were just for Irish blogs, I could have voted for so many more. Kicking myself!

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