How To Clean A Chimney Liner

Do you need to clean a stainless steel chimney liner? How often should you do so if you have got one installed? Find out in this guide.

Chimneys work as a system with different components each functioning to keep it functional.

At some point, each of these components will need to be maintained. One of those we’ll be discussing is the chimney liner.

Also called the flue liner, this lining goes inside of your chimney to contain and direct combustion byproducts.

While directing such byproducts of combustion to the outside atmosphere, liners themselves slowly accumulate these byproducts. These come in the form of creosote and soot.

The condensation of wood-burning byproducts causes the creation and buildup of soot and creosote.

The Need to Clean Your Chimney Liner

At the onset, the buildup of soot and creosote on chimney liner walls may seem harmless.

However, the steady buildup or condensation of these combustion byproducts on your liner could cause a whole lot of problems including increasing the chances of a chimney fire.

How so? As hot gases and smoke released from combustion travel up, some of it gets out the chimney while a part gets cooled and settles on your liner. With continued use comes a steady buildup.

Your flue liner condition worsens when it isn’t cleaned.

Now, creosote is known to be highly flammable. Before long, this is likely to get ignited which could result in a big chimney fire. Your entire home could be engulfed in flames as a result of this.

Other problems that can be caused include improper ventilation which prevents carbon monoxide escape.

With regular cleaning comes improved heating efficiency. These key areas; health risks, fire risk, and chimney efficiency are reasons enough to want to have your chimney liner cleaned regularly.

Cleaning the Chimney Liner

When it comes to chimney liner cleaning, two options are available to you.

They include the DIY option as well as allowing a professional to get the job done. In terms of performing the cleanup in the best possible way, the professional option tends to be the most reliable.

Here, trained and experienced chimney sweeps carry out a much detailed cleanup of your liner. They also have the tools necessary to carry out a good job.

This option saves you the stress associated with DIY chimney liner cleaning. Plus, it’s completed in record time with most clients finding such service mostly satisfactory.

i. DIY Cleaning For Chimney Liner

Tools are essential requirements for chimney liner cleaning.

Basic tools necessary for such a procedure include a drop cloth, flashlight, and dust mask.

Other cleaning tools include a flue liner brush, safety glasses, long-handled brush, safety harness, noodle brush shop vacuum, and a ladder.

Another primary consideration includes knowing if you’re up to the task and whether it’s convenient for you or not. Chimney liner cleaning requires climbing up your roof.

For a lot of people, especially those with fear of heights, this wouldn’t be a great idea.

Also, the type of roof you have can increase the risks involved. If you have a steep roof pitch, the risks increase of climbing increase significantly.

You might want to have a chimney sweep carry out this job for you.

  • The Cleanup Process

When performing DIY cleaning for a chimney liner, it’s best to adopt a top-down approach. In other words, cleaning from the upper parts of the liner and working your way down will make the job orderly and less messy.

Before you begin, spread your drop cloth below to trap falling debris and dirt.

You don’t want any of these messing up the area around your fireplace. Having placed your drop cloth, you’ll need to climb up your roof to access the chimney stack. Of course, your ladder will be needed to get to the roof.

Now, remove the chimney cap to get access to the liner.

At this point, you’ll need to pick from the different brush sizes you have. The proper size depends on the liner length. The ideal cleaning brush will be one whose head passes through the entire length of the liner.

You need a cleaning rod that connects to the end of the brush to allow for easy reach to all parts of the chimney. Gradually insert the brush down the chimney and into the flue to begin cleaning.

If it doesn’t reach all the way down, you might want to add some more cleaning rods.

  • Clearing Accumulated Dirt

An up and down movement of the cleaning brush along liner walls is done to dislodge accumulated debris.

With all areas of the chimney liner covered, you’ll need to pull out your brush. The job isn’t completed until the ground area is cleared of dirt from the cleanup process.

With the help of a shovel, clear the area of all dislodged creosote and ash. This concludes the cleanup process.

Is DIY Chimney Liner Cleaning Good Enough?

Not really. This cleanup process might get rid of loose dirt but leaves behind stubborn and caked dirt.

Also, there may be hard-to-reach areas your cleaning tools might not be able to clean.

At the end of the day, a professional chimney sweep still needs to be called for a more comprehensive cleanup job.

ii. Professional Chimney Liner Cleanup

Although DIY cleaning tends to be cheaper as you won’t have to spend a dime apart from tools bought, professional cleaning is more reliable.

In terms of convenience, you won’t have to get yourself soiled while cleaning. The pros do all that for you. All you have to do is point them to the job.

Your best bet of getting proper chimney liner cleaning is by calling reputable chimney sweeps for the job. There are lots of ways to do this including going through reviews.

A professional chimney sweep begins by assessing the nature of the job.

All the tools needed for the job are brought along before cleaning commences. At the end of the cleanup process, areas around the chimney are cleared of all debris and you’re good to go.

Chimney Liner Cleaning Frequency

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), all chimneys should be cleaned once a year for best results. You can schedule an annual cleanup of your chimney with a reputable chimney sweep.

These are ways to clean a chimney sweep. You get to choose among the two options (DIY or professional cleaning) which best fits your needs.

We’ve seen that calling a professional is the best alternative among the two.

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