Designed to clean the chimney and the exhaust system, chimney sweeping is very important for anyone who heats with wood, oil or gas. Sweeping removes the accumulated soot, thus reducing the risk of chimney fires. Furthermore, insurance companies usually require that a full sweep be done regularly. Whether you decide to do part of the task yourself or to entrust the whole job to a professional, be advised that a certified professional must clean the various parts of the exhaust system.
Any accumulation of more than 1/8 inch (3 mm) of creosote or soot particles should be removed as they present a fire risk, so it may be necessary to sweep your chimney regularly. Normally, once a year is enough for a chimney that sees little use, but for anyone who burns more than six cords per year, it is important to add one chimney sweeping mid-season.
It is usually recommended to have the chimney swept in the spring or beginning of summer, once the chimney is no longer in use. Sweeping at this time of year gives you enough time to make repairs or replace damaged parts, if necessary.
The entire exhaust system of the house must be cleaned, which means: the chimney, stove pipes and chimney flues. You also need to clean the hearth, firebox, smoke chamber and air regulator in addition to the stove itself. Furthermore, it is important to check the condition of the chimney cowl or cap and flashing seal, as well as the inside of the flue, supports and connectors.
The size of the brush must be compatible with the size of the chimney. Whether the brush has metal, steel or polypropylene bristles, it is important to select a brush that also corresponds to the type of chimney (prefabricated, stainless steel, or masonry, etc.).