Summary: How often to clean a chimney guide, when to clean a chimney and what wood causes the most soot build up.
When to clean a chimney
Cleaning your chimney is important to ensure the efficiency of the flue remains good and that the soot doesn’t catch fire. A build up of soot (creosote) is inevitable, but can happen at different speeds. Certain wood, such as pine, creates a more rapid build up of creosote. It is not advised that you burn this wood type.
Knowing whether the chimney needs cleaning is not judged by time or number of fires, but simply by physically checking the state of the flue. Using a poker or other implement, you need to scrape away the soot from the chimney walls.
- If the amount is only about paper-thin, then your flue is in fine condition and will not require a clean for some time to come.
- If the build up is around about 1/8 of an inch, you may want to think about a clean in the near future.
- 1/8 – 1/4 of an inch of build up will require an immediate clean, and any more than this requires an urgent clean and the fireplace should not be used for risk of igniting the soot.
It is possible to clean a chimney yourself; however you must use the right tools for the job, as well as the correct safety clothing.