Periodic cleaning of chimney flues is essential to prevent dangerous soot and creosote build-up, which can cause smoke to enter the home and also create chimney fires. If you're planning on tackling the job of cleaning your chimney flue yourself, there are many tools available to assist you.
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Flue brushes are used to remove creosote build-up from the inside of the chimney and come in several different materials, including oil-tempered steel, stainless steel and polyproplene plastic. The sizes and shapes vary, depending on the chimney.
Made of oil-tempered steel, wire brushes are designed to scrape the creosote off the walls of the inside of the chimney. They come in both round and flat sizes, depending on what's needed. The flat brush is stiffer and has better scraping ability than the round brush.
These brushes can be used on various chimney types because the brushes are softer and won't scratch a metal chimney. The flexibility of the brushes vary, depending on the width of the bristles, with the thinner bristles being easier to flex. The softer brush is less effective than the wire brushes, however.
Rotary Steel Cables
Designed to be attached to a rotary drill, these metal rods spin a cable, creating a cleaning motion that does a good job of eliminating any heavy creosote build-up on the flue.
Designed in various shapes with scrapers attached, hand brushes are used to clean the areas attached to the chimney, including the smoke chamber, firebox, caps, thimble area and smoke shelves.
Chimney rods push a brush down through the flue, and many brushes are designed to be connected to a chimney rod. The rods themselves are designed to fit together and come in many different lengths and materials (fibreglass, rattan, metal and polypropylene), depending on your needs. They are meant to be flexible to assist in manoeuvring the brush down through the chimney flue to remove creosote.
Chimney Cleaning Systems
These specially designed systems essentially eliminate the old method of cleaning a chimney using rods and brushes. Instead, they have a one-piece rod with an attached cleaning piece. They are convenient because they can be used from the ground going upward.
Most chemicals are meant to be used after the chimney has been cleaned in one of the traditional manners. There are, however, chemicals that are meant to help dissolve creosote that has become hardened and cannot be removed manually.Follow instructions carefully on the chemical application and be sure to allow the suggested time for the chemical to set before cleaning the flue.
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