How To Clear A Clogged Chimney

Homeowners love a good amenity. One of those many amenities is a fireplace. However, if the fireplace is not maintained properly, damage could be done to the home. If the chimney cap is removed, all kinds of mayhem could occur. Rodents, birds, and any creature that loves to climb will begin to use your exposed chimney flue as a new home. In doing so, the critter that has made a new home has just clogged your chimney. How to clear a clogged chimney? Use a brush that is safe for the flue, and sweep away all debris causing the clog.

Let’s take a look below at some of those steps.

Chimneys without caps can get clogged by rodents and birds.

How Do I Unclog It

Getting your chimney unclogged should be done by a professional. You never know how badly the flue liner could be damaged unless you understand how to check from the top and bottom of the chimney. Whenever you are considering removing the chimney blockage on your own, you will need some equipment. Let’s take a look at what you would need.

What Are My Steps

To unclog your blocked chimney, you will want to start from the top. Typically, you are looking to push down nesting materials left by critters that have gained access to your chimney flue at the top of the fireplace opening. Let’s go over your step-by-step process.

  1. Put on protective gear and clothing.
  2. Place the ladder so that you can safely access the roof.
  3. Take the chimney cap off and brush it to remove all dirt and debris.
  4. Use your flashlight to explore the inside of the chimney flue.
  5. Take your broom or long brush and pull the debris up and out, or push it through to the bottom of the fireplace.
  6. After you have cleared it all up, install the chimney cap to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

In the meantime, if you would prefer to unclog your chimney from below or inside the home you will need to follow this step-by-step process for effectiveness.

  1. Place drop cloths around the fireplace.
  2. Keep your vacuum ready to begin sucking up soot from the fireplace.
  3. Use your flashlight and look up and into the chimney flue.
  4. Determine where the clog is, and pull the debris out of the hole.

Always keep in mind that you can hire a professional chimney sweep to ensure that all debris was removed from the chimney flue.

Additionally, chimney repairs are needed in all types of fireplaces. Wood stoves, wood-burning fireplaces, and gas fireplaces, all need maintenance and at some point, chimney repairs.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know how to clear a clogged chimney, there are some other recommended maintenance areas to check out. One of those is replacing a clay chimney flue liner. At this time, it is a good idea to clean this liner every year to get the creosote out of the chimney. If you don’t, it can create a fire hazard.

Another area is painting a metal roof. One of the many great things about a metal roof is that it can be easily painted to liven up the home. It also gives the roof a longer lifespan because it is painted, as well as sustainable.

Lastly, keep an eye out for wet drywall. If it has stains, bubbling, or mold to name a few, then it is wet and you can try to dry it out. However, if there is too much water, then it may need to be replaced.

Always have your chimney cleaned and regularly inspected.

When Do I Call A Professional

Calling on a professional to inspect and clean your chimney should be done before and after you use the chimney. In many cases, items such as the chimney cap could become damaged or removed by rodents. If this occurs, rodents and birds might begin nesting in the chimney. Additionally, this could cause a blockage. If you aren’t sure who to call to clean and inspect the chimney, call on your local home inspection team. They can inspect the structure of your chimney. Also, they can refer a reputable chimney cleaning company.


Fireplaces are great amenities for homes in various locations. However, just like any other working part of the home, it needs to be maintained. If you fail to maintain your fireplace and chimney, you could end up with some major damage to the home or possibly even fire. Call on House Inspection Associates to conduct a full home inspection in the Virginia, D.C., and Maryland areas.

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