DIY Chimney Maintenance: What Denver Homeowners Can Do (and When to Call the Pros)

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Your fireplace is more than the main focal point of your kitchen, living room, or den. It also provides supplemental heat in winter, a lifesaver for Denverites confronted with rising energy costs.

Proper care and maintenance of your wood-burning fireplace is critical, but what can you tackle as a homeowner, and what are the signs that it’s time to call Denver chimney services? 

how to fix my chimney by myself

Do-It-Yourself Chimney Maintenance Tips

As a savvy homeowner, you consider yourself something of a DIY guru and regularly tackle jobs around your house, from rewiring a bathroom light switch to cleaning the gutters. Put your skills and know-how to good use by tackling these chimney maintenance projects:

Invest in Quality Chimney Cleaning Tools and Equipment

Maintaining your chimney starts with gathering the right equipment to finish the job and protect yourself and your home from contaminants.

Head to your local home improvement and get ready to fill your cart with:

  • Safety glasses
  • Duct tape
  • Wire brush
  • Long-handled cleaning brush
  • Shop vac
  • Dust mask
  • Drop cloth
  • Flashlight

Protect Your Flooring and Home While Tackling the DIY Cleaning

Cover the flooring and hearth with drop cloths or plastic sheeting. Move any nearby furniture away from the wood-burning fireplace to prevent damage and stains.

chimney brush diy

Clean the Chimney Flue Liner with a Chimney Brush

The chimney’s inner walls are covered with a layer of soot and creosote, a by-product of burning wood that accumulates on the walls. Follow these easy-to-follow steps to clean the inside of your chimney:

  • Grab your chimney brush and start scrubbing to carefully remove dust, dirt, and creosote.
  • Continue to move the brush upwards. Once you’ve reached the height possible by the first rod, attach additional rods until you reach the stopping point.
  • Use a shop vacuum to clean up the mess.

If the creosote buildup is so extensive you cannot easily maneuver the brush, or if there are vast signs of damage to the inner walls, it’s time to contact chimney sweep companies in Denver to tackle the job.

Maintain the Area Around the Chimney

The buildup of debris on the chimney cap and upper lip can negatively impact its efficiency. Regularly clean any twigs, dead leaves, or other debris. If you aren’t sure how to do this safely or feel uncomfortable ascending the roof to inspect or clean a chimney, hire a professional chimney sweep.

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Check for Damage and Cracks in Other Chimney Components

Grab your flashlight and put on your safety goggles before inspecting the chimney’s inner walls, smoke chamber, and smoke shelf. Check for severe signs of deterioration, cracks, or other forms of damage. Immediately schedule a chimney inspection if there is any damage to any fireplace component, from the damper to the chimney cap.

Don’t Forget to Inspect the Masonry and Grout Lines

Watch for cracks, spalling, and efflorescence, a white chalky buildup that naturally occurs when the porous masonry absorbs water, and the salts in the water accumulate on the bricks.

Never Burn Green Wood

Many homeowners overlook the importance of burning the correct type of wood. Properly seasoned hardwoods burn hotter, which helps prevent creosote from building up on the chimney’s inner walls.

In addition to saving you money on an extra chimney cleaning, preventing creosote accumulation can help avoid a potentially devastating chimney fire. Remember, according to the Chimney Safety Institute, excessive creosote is the leading cause of unintentional house fires in the United States.

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Signs It’s Time to Call for a Professional Inspection and Chimney Cleaning

A dirty chimney is more than a headache and an eyesore; it is also potentially dangerous and, in many cases, requires professional intervention.

Aren’t sure if it’s time to bite the bullet, put down your chimney brush, and call a professional? Watch for these signs it’s time to schedule an appointment with a chimney sweep near me or if you require an extensive chimney repair:

A Strange Odor Emanating from Your Chimney

Most homeowners are comforted by the distinct smell of a burning fire inside their Denver home. If that once enticing odor is replaced with an unpleasant smell, it’s typically the sign of dirty chimneys or, in the worst-case scenario, an animal has died inside the chimney.

Yes, Animals Will Make a Home Inside Your Fireplace!

Your fireplace chimney is a warm, inviting place for animals, from raccoons to bats. Animals and their nests decrease fireplace efficiency and cause blockages, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide entering your home.

animal removal

Chimney Kings Can Evict Pests From Your Denver Chimney

Removing animals doesn’t need to be a DIY job; leave rodent control services to the pros!

Excessive Smoke While Burning Wood

The flue helps draw smoke away from the fireplace and through the chimney. Excessive smoke inside your home is often a sign of severe damage or disruption to the positive airflow, whether from a damaged damper or an obstruction inside the chimney.

Trouble Starting and Maintaining a Fire

Your damper is open, and you are burning seasoned wood, so why won’t the fire stay lit? Fire needs oxygen to burn, so if the fire isn’t roaring or won’t stay lit at all, a chimney obstruction or severe damage might be the issue.

Leaves, Twigs, or Other Debris Inside Your Fireplace

Severe damage to the chimney or the cap allows leaves, twigs, and other debris from outside the home to fall into the firebox. A chimney crown repair or brick tuckpointing is often necessary to repair any damage to the outer portions of the chimney.

Rusted Firebox and Metal Chimney Insert

A well-maintained chimney and wood-burning fireplace are nearly waterproof. If the metal firebox and metal chimney insert are rusted, it is a sign that moisture is accumulating, whether it be from rainwater seeping through a damaged cap or masonry holes allowing water to run down the chimney, causing the metal components to rust.

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The Vital Importance of Regular Cleaning and Chimney Maintenance

Keeping your chimney clean is of vital importance, and not only to maintain its appearance. A clean chimney equals a safe chimney, so before you decide to skip your annual maintenance appointment or chimney sweeping, consider these important reasons to hire a professional:

Prevent Chimney Fires

Keeping your chimney clean and well-maintained is the simplest way to protect your family, home, and belongings from an accidental chimney fire.

The Hidden Dangers of Creosote Buildup

When creosote accumulates on the inner walls of the damper, flue, and firebox, it can easily ignite, leading to a house fire that can quickly burn out of control.

Extend the Life of Your Fireplace and Chimney

The average life of a well-maintained fireplace and chimney is between 10 and 20 years. Yearly maintenance, regular cleanings, and occasional repairs, such as a firebox repair, are simple strategies to extend the life of your Denver fireplace.

From the Chimney Cap to the Fireplace: Protect Your Investment

Are you selling your home or simply want to continue bragging about your fantastic Denver fireplace? A wood-burning fireplace can increase the value of your home, but only if it is properly cared for.

Always Hire a Certified Chimney Sweep

Work with a chimney sweep who is affordable, dependable, and certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Schedule a Cleaning in the Early Fall

Contact a professional chimney sweep right before the heating season to ensure your fireplace is clean and burns efficiently all winter long.

chimney services nearby

Contact Us to Schedule Maintenance, Repairs, or a Chimney Sweep

With years of experience servicing clients’ chimneys throughout the Denver Metro Area, let our fantastic crew of professionals maintain and clean your chimney. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional customer service and guarantee you will be delighted with the results!

Let Us Climb onto the Roof for You!

Why waste precious time and money investing in a fall protection system when our team can climb the roof for you?! We have the expertise necessary to repair your chimney or tackle a chimney cap installation.

Chimney Sweeping Is Messy

Don’t invest in expensive chimney cleaning equipment; instead, leave this messy job to our crew. We offer high-quality service at a very reasonable price. All chimney sweeps come with a free full inspection and assessment of both your fireplace and chimney.

Other Services We Provide

In addition to inspections, maintenance, and cleanings, we offer many other chimney services, including firebox repair and chimney liner installation.

People Also Ask

Can you clean your own chimney yourself?

You can clean a chimney yourself, but in addition to removing soot, dirt, and creosote buildup, a professional will not only tackle those jobs with more precision but can also perform any necessary repairs and maintenance.

How do I clean my chimney flue myself?

The cleaning process involves using a long wire brush to clean off the inner walls. An extension rod is used to clean the upper portions of the flue liner.

diy chimney faq's

Who is responsible for chimney maintenance?

The homeowner is responsible for chimney maintenance, but you are not alone. Create a cleaning and maintenance schedule by calling (303) 331-7978.

How much does it cost to sweep a chimney in Denver?

Costs vary depending on the length of time between cleanings, the project overview working time, accessibility, type of fireplace, and time of year.

Embrace the DIY Spirit for Your Chimney Maintenance

Diving into your own chimney cleaning is a rewarding DIY project that boosts your fireplace’s safety and efficiency. Regular maintenance not only prevents hazards but also ensures your fireplace chimney remains a cozy centerpiece in your Denver home. Ready, set, start cleaning a chimney!

Kfir W.
Kfir W.

As a boy, I used to climb trees and stand on the top of the roof of my childhood house. I love the adrenaline and looking at the world from an aerial perspective. This is why everybody calls me The Chimney King!