BBQs and Outdoor Blog

Cleaning your flue

Posted by Eleni on May 9, 2018

Winter isn’t just flu season – it’s FLUE season, as your woodheater will be getting a workout and half as temperatures drop, which can lead to debris/creosote building up in the flue, and branches, leaves and even birds nest can also obstruct your flu. It’s highly recommended that you have your woodheater’s flue/chimney cleaned, or clean it yourself once a year, both from a safety perspective to prevent flue fires, and from an efficiency perspective – cleaning your flue helps achieve maximum efficiency and prevent downdraughts.

Cleaning your flue

Contacting a chimney sweep and having your flue cleaned by professional is ideal, but if you would prefer to clean it yourself, follow the guidelines below. If you’re in need of a woodheater or cleaning brushes/tools and advice, stop by Heating by BBQs and Outdoor and we’ll give you a hand. 

How do you clean your flue? There are two methods you can use – cleaning your flue from the top down, which results in a more thorough clean, but is more dangerous. If you don’t feel your roof is a safe surface, and you have no experience working on a roof/high surface, we recommend you use the bottom up method or call a professional to clean your flue – falling off a roof can be fatal and is absolutely not worth the risk. It should be noted that while the bottom up method is safer, it can result in the entire room getting covered in soot, so if you choose this method, make sure every surface is covered in old towels and sheets, and remove soft furniture from the room. 

Tools you will need:

  • An appropriately sized flue brush – they come in many shapes and sizes, so ask us which brush will best suit your model.
  • Old clothes – you don’t want to get soot on your good jeans!
  • A powerful torch – this will help you ensure you have thoroughly cleaned out your flue
  • A pair of thick safety gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • A breathing mask
  • If you are cleaning your flue from the top down, you’ll need a sturdy ladder and safety gear to access and work safely on your roof, and a fireplace cover which can be tightly secured to ensure no debris/soot flies into the room.
  • If you are cleaning your flue from the bottom up, make sure you have old sheets, towels, or tarps that you can cover surfaces with in your room, and move soft furniture out of the room.

Top down method

  • Get dressed to impress in your safety glasses, mask, gloves and old clothes
  • Open the damper above your fireplace/wood heater
  • Ensure that your fireplace cover is secured firmly
  • Using the ladder, climb onto your roof with your brush and torch
  • Once you’re stable, remove the chimney/flue cowl if there is one
  • Lower the brush and sweep the interior of the chimney, making sure to scrub well all the way to the bottom, repeating until it’s clean, using the torch to check it’s spotless
  • Replace the cowl, carefully climb down from your roof, remove the fireplace cover and sweep up soot/debris, and you’re done!

Bottom up method

  • Get dressed to impress in your safety glasses, mask, gloves and old clothes
  • As listed, cover any surfaces and remove soft furniture from the room, this will be messy!
  • Open the damper above your fireplace/wood heater
  • Push the brush up into the chimney and sweep the interior of the chimney, making sure to scrub well all the way to the top, repeating until it’s clean, using the torch to check it’s spotless
  • Sweep up soot/debris, and you’re done!