There are many types and sizes of chimneys so before you choose a chimney brush you will need to measure the inner dimensions of the chimney that you are going to be cleaning.
When measuring the dimensions of your chimney, you will need to get up on your roof. Make sure that you are using the proper safety equipment and use caution while up on the roof. If your chimney is a metal Class A chimney or prefab chimney, you will need to remove the chimney cap and then measure the distance across the inner diameter of the chimney. Select either a round wire or poly brush, but keep in mind a poly brush is recommended for metal chimneys since it won’t scratch and wear down the inner stainless steel lining.
If you have a masonry chimney, measure the inner flue liner dimensions in both directions. You will want a brush that is at least as big as your chimney liner, otherwise it will not reach the side walls of your chimney and cannot do an adequate job. A chimney brush that is too big will be hard to get down the chimney but will work unless it is excessively oversized. If your flue is oval, then you could buy a brush as large as the rectangular dimensions would be then snip off the tines to make it oval, but there are some oval sized chimney brushes are available. Also available are square shaped brushes.
So, now that you know how to choose the right size chimney brush, let’s talk about the different types of chimney brushes. There are 3 main types of chimney brushes: wire, flat wire, and poly brushes. Wire bristle chimney brushes are most commonly used and generally do a great job but are not recommended for metal chimney flues. Homeowner versions and Master Sweep versions are available. The Master Sweep version has more bristles and will generally make the job easier and faster.
Flat wire bristle brushes are stiffer than regular wire bristle brushes and the flat tines provide better scraping action. These brushes are not recommended for use in metal chimneys , just like the wire bristle brushes, because they will scratch and scar the interior of the chimney leading to increased creosote buildup and corrosion. Flat wire bristle brushes are best used when glazed creosote buildup is present in your chimney.
Poly chimney brushes are recommended for use in metal chimneys as they don’t scratch the chimney walls. Standard poly brushes are very stiff and may be difficult to work into a very dirty chimney and also do not go around any bends that may be present in a chimney system. If your chimney has bends present or if heavy amounts of creosote make cleaning difficult with standard poly brushes, Pre-Fab poly brushes are more flexible and are recommended.
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