How to Clean a Flue Liner

Written by joshua smyth
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How to Clean a Flue Liner
A dirty flue is a fire risk. (chimney image by hazel proudlove from

Chimney flues are the tubes that carry smoke from a fireplace or furnace out of the building to the top of the chimney. They are typically lined, either with ceramic flue tiles or metal. Regular cleaning of a chimney flue is important, especially if it vents a wood fireplace. Burning wood releases creosote, which is deposited inside the flue and can ignite, causing a chimney fire that can permanently damage the chimney and flue liner. Cleaning a flue is a strenuous job and involves climbing up onto the roof.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Chimney flue brush
  • Extendable brush handle
  • Shop vac
  • Ladder
  • Dust sheet
  • Tape
  • Goggles
  • Face mask
  • Gloves

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  1. 1

    Cover the fireplace with a dust sheet and tape the cloth down tightly. This will prevent the dust scraped from the flue from spreading through the house.

  2. 2

    Buy a wire flue brush in a size and shape that matches your flue.

  3. 3

    Open the outside bottom clean-out door on your fireplace, if there is one. This will allow the dust from the flue to escape outside.

  4. 4

    Set a ladder up outside of the house and climb up to the chimney with your flue brush, an extension handle, a flashlight and a bucket.

  5. 5

    Remove the cap from the chimney and mount the flue brush on the handle.

  6. 6

    Put on safety goggles, a dust mask, gloves and clothes that you can ruin with black dust.

  7. 7

    Push the flue brush into the flue and scrub up and down the liner while turning the handle to give it maximum abrasiveness. This will loosen the build-up in the flue and send some of it falling to the bottom. The rest will attach to the brush; bring it out of the flue and dust it off into a bucket regularly. Keep looking into the flue with a flashlight to check cleanliness.

  8. 8

    Climb back down the ladder when you have finished scrubbing the flue. Re-enter the house and carefully remove the dust sheet from the fireplace. Use a shop vacuum to clean up the powder from the flue; a regular vacuum will clog and could be damaged by the fine dust.

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