Do It Yourself Chimmney Sweep

Do it yourself chimmney sweep

PostBy: Cap On: Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:23 pm

Hello Folks,

Weather has been quite warm but I still burn some wood in the Harman in the evening when the temps fall into the 40's or below.

I am considering sweeping my ss liner in a few weeks on my own. I bought the poly brush and some rope but before I do, wnat to hear any reconmendations or words of caution from the group.

Talking to a professional chimmney sweep, he is trying to make me believe it can be a major health hazard if I fail to wear a resperator or if I absorb any coal ash into my lungs. Any advise from the group?

Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

PostBy: Berlin On: Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:49 pm

Any advise from the group?

go for it, it's pretty easy, btw, your chimney sweep is full of it, nonetheless, 15lbs is a good limit for the amount of coal ash you can ingest before having problems. :roll:
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:40 am

You don't need to sweep a coal chimney. Ours hasn't been swept for as long as I can remeber which is probably 30 years. Checking it for obstructions with a mirror is about all the maintenance it gets. You can still see the divots in the concrete blocks in my Grandmothers house which hasn't been swept for probably 40 years. What you do need to do is clean the bottom out where the fly ash accumulates. Of course ours is burning year round so there won't be any build up because of moisture. That's about the only reason I can see for sweeping it.

You can try and experiment if you want. Clean out the bottom first then sweep it. You'll find that there isn't much there.

Note that this is regarding anthracite, I don't know if bituminous needs to be swept....
Richard S.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: Complete Heat On: Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:23 pm

Your sweep is right, there are serious potential health hazards associated with the various types of soot, some of them being carcinogenic. I am a certified sweep, and have had many classes on these types of issues. A poly brush is all you need. I would recommend using rods with quick connects versus the rope. Wear a respirator, and go to it.

Mike 8)
Complete Heat
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130/FHA

PostBy: Berlin On: Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:45 pm

"Wear a respirator, and go to it."

please. for a homeowner cleaning his chimney once or twice a year, and, it being anthricite coal, there is really no soot, wearing a respirator is absurd and silly.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

PostBy: lime4x4 On: Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:17 pm

i also have ss liner with a lifetime warranty but only if it's cleaned once a year will they stand good on the warranty. From what i'm told fly ash is very corrosive when it gets wet. I'm planning to sweep mine as well this spring.

PostBy: kirk On: Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:05 am

Don't want to be disagreable with Berlin, but you should wear a good dust mask or respirator. Coal ash contains heavy metals and small amounts of radioactive particals. Fly ash is mostly glass particals. Not stuff you want in your lungs.

PostBy: Complete Heat On: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:07 pm


Any fuel source that has sulfur in it, will leave a residue in the flue system, that if it gets wet, will become corrosive. I see many terra-cotta flue tiles that are shot from the effects of oil soot getting wet. While coal is not a popular fuel source up here in new England, I am almost certain the effects would be identical. As for not wearing a respirator while cleaning any chimney, I would not recommend it, as it is better to be safe than a victim.

Complete Heat
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: AA-130/FHA

PostBy: FedFire47 On: Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:27 pm

OSHA's PEL (permissable exposure limit) for chimney sweeping dust, which is called coal tar pitch, is 0.2 mg/m3. PEL defined by OSHA is what a worker is permitted to be exposed to for an 8 hour shift no more then 40 hours per week. That is 20% of a milligram of the molecular weight. That number converted into PPM (parts per million) which I am sure that more people are familiar with is 1.6. Acute or shortterm effects are dermatitis or skin rashes. Some burning and upper respiratory distress. Longterm effects above PEL is known to cause cancer in lab rats.

Now that all the technical stuff is outta the way, I have to agree I would rather be safe then sorry. Besides who trusts what the government says?