This is Corey checking in (Kelly's husband) and I am honored to write for Modern Earth Design today!
This is the time of year when many of us are enjoying the heat from our fireplaces and wood stoves. It's very important that you clean your chimney once a year to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. We recently did some chimney cleaning and I am going to show you how to do yours!
The tools needed are a chimney brush with extendable attachments (not the one on a rope - they aren't very practical ) which can be purchased at your local hardware store. Also you will need a ladder, flashlight, utility knife, interchangeable screw driver (in case you have a screw down arrestor or chimney cap ), Heat rated fireplace silicone, caulk gun, wire brush, and a "red devil" or "hyde' style knife to help pop the arrestor cap.
As you can see there is a lot of cresote buildup on the arrestor cap from one year of burning. This cresote is a chemical buildup that can be very flammable if left inside your chimney. First we remove the arrestor cap by breaking the seal of the black flammable caulk around the cap by "scoring"it with a utility knife and then gently wedging it free with the hyde knife. Once the cap is off you can quickly clean the excess cresote with the wire brush.
Next take the chimney brush and add attachments as needed according to the depth of your chimney. NOTE: be careful to tighten your attachments because when you're moving the brush up and down sometimes the threaded attachments can fall apart and you will get the brush stuck! Trust me - I warned you:-)
Once you've tightened the brush attachments insert the bristled end of the brush into the chimney opening and push it all the way to the bottom of your fireplace opening inside your home. One of the kid's or your spouse can really help by being a "spotter" to see where the brush begins to show through the fireplace opening. Continue a "sweeping" motion up and down through the chimney walls bottom-to-top repeatedly until there's no major cresote buildup evident inside. Shine your flashlight down the chimney to get a good look at your work.
This is what a clean chimney looks like inside & outside.
Next place the clean arrestor cap on and screw it down, or in our case re-seal it with the heat rated fireplace silicone. You will need to shop vav or sweep out the cresote buildup that fell down into your fireplace when you brushed it out.
Other than that you're ready for another year of burning!