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jckkcj 11-01-2005 05:42 PM

clean chimney
We purchased our first house 8 months ago. Now that winter is starting here in Southern California, the weather has dropped to a chilly 50 degrees sometimes. I know, pathetic, but we now use the fireplace in the evening once or twice a week.

We have now noticed that at different times of the day, we smell the campfire smell. Sometimes it is after we haven't had a fire for a couple days. Yes, the flue is closed.

Anyhow, I am pretty handy but have never tackled a chimney cleaning, but I need to keep costs down right now (it is about $100.00 to do it). Do I even need to clean it?, or is there another problem I'm not thinking about? Can a homeowner clean it or is it better to leave it to a pro?

Thanks in advance,


Teetorbilt 11-01-2005 06:38 PM

For the first time, I would hire the pro. You don't know what the previous owners, squirrels and birds may have done. Once you know that everything is safe, stick with dry, seasoned hardwoods and you should have little problems.

'Andyman 11-02-2005 08:16 AM

Chimney Cleaning
I agree with Teetorbilt,

Hire a pro. A chimney fire is not something you want to experience. It can develop the heat of a blast furnace and totaly destroy the chimney and even spread to the the house. These are not scare tactics, but don't mess with it. The smell you get is from the chimney cooling after having a fire with condensation in the chimney giving that damp smokey smell. I believe they have to chemically clean the chimney to get rid of the creosote build up and it is the creosote that causes the chimney fires. As Teetorbilt says, stick with good seasoned hardwoods, never use softwoods and enjoy your fire. Applewood smells great!

FireballBrick 11-21-2005 11:10 PM

I will in no way endorse this, but I have done it to clean a chimney......get your drill out, but instead of putting an bit into it, put in an, take a sturdy piece of chain the length of the chimney and attach it to eye-bolt with end of chain, but a broken bicycle chain thru a link and make it even on both bicycle chain from sliding one way or the other....climb to top of chimney, insert chain, squeeze drill trigger....close eyes, and move drill up and down. Shorten chain length, repeat.....
You will have a mess to clean up, and you'll probably spend 30 bucks rigging this up, but it's fun!!!!

Bonus 11-21-2005 11:15 PM

That sounds like a riot, Adrienne. However,if you have a brick chimney with ceramic flue liners, you could easily do damage to them, so watch it. Rich.

FireballBrick 11-21-2005 11:24 PM

Definitely agree with ya Rich, the one I did was a blue million years old and was just brick. The ceramic stuff will crack with a good pop.. Maybe you could wrap the chain in an old towel or something to deaden the impact....

greenpastureslc 11-29-2005 11:50 PM

You could also use the chimney sweeps available at any home center. You would be looking at spending $10 to $20 per story for the setup you would need. The way I do it is sweep once from the top, then once again from the inside. Use a shop vac to clean the fire box and then spray paint the fire box with a black hi temp stove paint to pretty it up. This is a simple maintenance job that any homeowner can do. I would do it once a year. But I've got to agree with the others, you want a pro to do it the first time so he can inspect the flew for you.

Teetorbilt 11-30-2005 06:47 PM

I have read somewhere that they make a bomb type extingisher like a chemical grenade to extinguish chimney fires. I always keep a good sized CO2 near mine.

Rusty Bottoms 12-06-2005 10:07 PM

I've never tried it but this is one idea I have heard. Take a good strong canvas , or gunny sack bag and fill with gravel. Adjust the amount of gravel to your chimney. Tie a rope to the bag an lower in and out of your chimney. Like I said I've never tried it, but I think it could work. - Rusty

shopchimney 08-16-2012 04:31 PM

Clean Chimney
You can clean it out yourself, but the best thing to do for this situation would be to hire a professional cleaning service. A chimney fire is something you don't want to experience, so it's better to play it safe and pay the $100 than be sorry for not taking any precautions. Once the pro inspects the chimney and cleans it out for you the first time, you can use chimney sweeps once a year for maintenance. You can also use a vac to clean the fireplace chimney cap and spray it black with black hi-temp stove paint to make it more visually appealing.

md2lgyk 08-16-2012 06:12 PM

I agree that the OP should probably hire a pro to inspect/clean the chimney the first time. But after that, it's easy. Just buy the appropriate brushes and it's a 15-minute job. I've done it for years with no issues.

picflight 08-16-2012 06:21 PM

I think the OP might have done it by now, this thread is 7 years old.

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seger137 08-23-2012 09:48 AM

It is possible to do the job as a DIY homeowner. Tools of the trade can be found here if you are interested:

notmrjohn 08-25-2012 05:56 PM


Originally Posted by picflight (Post 990500)
I think the OP might have done it by now, this thread is 7 years old.

August of 2005. In September of 2005 a wild fire burned over 17,000 acres in Southern California, where it can " a chilly 50 degrees" and folks "" use the fireplaceg once or twice a week," and follow all kinds of advice they find on line. Hmmmm...

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