Cleaning chimneys of stoves and fireplaces from soot: the best means and methods of getting rid of soot in a pipe

Alexey Dedyulin
Checked by a specialist: Alexey Dedyulin
Author: Natalya Listyeva
Last update: May 2019

Regular cleaning of chimneys from stoves and fireplaces from soot is a mandatory procedure, regardless of the frequency of use of the heater. For these events, modern chemical preparations, folk remedies tested over the years and special mechanical methods are suitable.

The choice of the most effective method depends on the level of pollution of the chimney channels and the desire of homeowners to do everything on their own or, in the full sense of the word, without getting their hands dirty, entrust the work to professionals.

Are you planning to get rid of burning yourself, but don’t know which way to use? We will help you determine your tactics. The article provides a detailed overview of the most effective methods, indicates the reasons for the fast clogging of the chimney and indicates the timing of the treatment.

Why is the chimney clogged?

Chimney clogging is a natural process resulting from combustion. Only part of the fuel, decaying into fractions, acquires a gaseous form and leaves, as an emission, into the atmosphere.

Other fragments with a heavier, denser structure take the form of soot deposits and settle on the inner surface of the pipeline, with time worsening its throughput many times.

The chimney coming out of the roof must be covered with a special windproof hood. Then, during the period of seasonal downtime, a nest of birds or wasps will not be equipped there, and in winter leaves, branches, ice and other foreign elements will not get inside.

The use of firewood from coniferous trees provokes channel blockages.The viscous resinous substances contained in excess in the composition form a powerful adhesive base and contribute to the retention of soot deposits on it.

Such contamination is difficult to prepare for cleaning and requires careful removal by means of mechanical devices.

Household garbage, packaging, remnants of old furniture, textiles and other items that are not a fuel resource, by definition, emit caustic ether complexes, heavy carcinogens and resinous compounds during combustion.

Therefore, the burning in the furnace or fireplace of such human waste negatively affects the operation of heating equipment of any class.

All of them in the form of a dense, viscous precipitate cover the inner surface of the pipes and create conditions for holding soot, soot and soot. The channel through which the gaseous elements escape into the atmosphere narrows to a minimum, the draft throws over, and part of the smoke enters the living room.

The temperature in the room drops, and the use of heating equipment becomes dangerous due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

They accelerate the clogging of the chimney canal with deposits of firewood from a recently sawn, damp forest.

If the current moisture content of the log exceeds 12%, it is strictly forbidden to throw it into the furnace immediately. It must be thoroughly dried in a warm room for at least 1 week.

Damp logs reduce the heat transfer by 35%, contribute to the rapid clogging of the smoke exhaust system, and eventually disable it.

Chimney Cleaner
Soot, covering the inside of the pipe with a thick layer, is highly flammable and can ignite unexpectedly. This is fraught with a fire in the room and the transfer of fire to neighboring houses and nearby outbuildings

Sometimes an active accumulation of carbon deposits inside the pipe provokes errors that were accidentally or inexperienced during the laying of the furnace and chimney furnishings for a fireplace or stove.

It could be:

  • incorrectly calculated pipe angle;
  • too thin walls of the outlet system;
  • incorrectly selected chimney pipe;
  • increased volume of condensate resulting from insufficient thermal insulation;
  • excessive number of bends and turns of the chimney;
  • roughness on the inner surface of the drainage channels.

It is these reasons that accelerate the pollution of chimneys and several times reduce the efficiency of stoves, boilers and fireplaces. Homeowners are advised to be very careful about the choice of stove-makers and apply only to those who have already confirmed their skills and high qualifications.

Otherwise, with enviable regularity, the question will arise about how to clean your home chimney, giving you a lot of trouble and requiring constant financial costs.

Symptoms of chimney clogging

It is not difficult to guess about the clogging of the chimney system. This is clearly indicated by the drastically reduced draft in the furnace and a noticeable cooling in the rooms.

Problematic primary ignition of the fuel resource and arbitrary attenuation of the flame also indicates a decrease in the passability of the channels and a violation of proper air exchange.

Chimney cleaning in the house
Incorrect cleaning of the chimney entails additional problems. A master who does not have the proper experience can seriously damage the pipe and even violate the integrity of the entire system. The results will be disappointing

A signal that the chimney needs cleaning is the changed shade of the flame in the combustion chamber. Fire, in the process of burning acquiring a juicy orange color, clearly implies the presence of a problem.

This is also indicated by an unexpected smell, uncharacteristic of the normal operation of the furnace.

Frequency of cleaning

For preventive purposes, experts strongly recommend that an inspection and a visual inspection of furnaces, solid fuel boilers, fireplaces and chimneys.

Schedule of planned revisions:

  • any heating equipment - after the initial installation in a residential building, immediately before start-up, at the end of repair work;
  • seasonal operation systems - before starting and at the end of intensive operation;
  • gas boilers and stoves - twice a year in the first 2 years after installation / installation, then 1 time annually;
  • brick chimneys - quarterly;
  • chimneys from any other materials - every 12 months;
  • branch pipes of heating and cooking stoves - three times a season.

If problems are identified during the inspection process, they must be rectified immediately. Then the system will function correctly and provide the proper level of comfort and fire safety in residential premises.

How to clean a chimney
Cleaning the chimney is required as soon as possible, if it has lost its throughput and is clogged, the combustion products do not enter the atmosphere, but return to the living rooms

Treatment activities can be organized independently or use the services of a chimney sweep. The main thing is to timely eliminate all problems and provide the equipment with the opportunity to work in normal mode.

TOP 5 cleaning products

Chemicals for scheduled cleaning of chimneys of solid fuel boilers, stoves and fireplaces attract with their simplicity, reasonable cost and ease of use.

Owners do not have to purchase special equipment, get their hands dirty and make serious physical efforts to return the equipment to working capacity.

Products for cleaning chimneys from soot
Products for removing soot and soot from chimney systems are made in the form of powder, granules or briquettes, reminiscent of the shape of a classic wooden log. Efficiency does not depend on the form of release

Acquired drugs are simply poured into the fire in a certain volume or stacked with firewood during kindling. In the process of thermal exposure, the working components react with soot or resinous elements and contribute to their decomposition.

The gaseous part, together with the smoke, enters the atmosphere, and the dry part simply crumbles to the bottom. Then it is removed along with solid combustion products and ash.

Many domestic and European companies are engaged in the production of cleaning chemicals. Their products are in stable demand and copes well with the tasks.

Remedy # 1 - Sadpal Cleaning Powder

Polish remedy Sandpal - It is non-explosive and non-flammable fine-grained green powder.

It consists of a complex of inorganic salts and serves as a catalyst for the afterburning of soot deposited in the chimney part of fireplaces and stoves. Effectively affects organics, decomposing it to water and carbon dioxide.

In a volume of 1 tablespoon, it is poured into a well-heated combustion chamber directly on the smoldering parts of the fuel. If kindling is carried out with a dry resource, the dose is slightly reduced, but for a wet one with a weak, poorly expressed combustion coefficient, it increases by 10-15%.

Soot cleaner
The manufacturer recommends that customers use the product in strict accordance with the instructions. Violation of proportions negatively affects the cleaning procedure and does not bring the desired results

In the process of soot oxidation, large fractions of the formed substance crumble to the bottom of the combustion chamber, while small fractions, together with flue gases, rise up and go into the exhaust pipe.

Using Sadpal cleaning powder, you can:

  • optimize the consumption of coal and firewood;
  • reduce the risk of ignition of residual soot deposits;
  • reduce sulfur emissions;
  • protect metal fragments located in the chimney part from corrosion;
  • protect ceramic elements of the system from cracking.

With regular maintenance, the pipe will no longer become clogged with combustion waste, will not suffer from tar deposits and will not require complex and labor-intensive mechanical cleaning.

Remedy # 2 - Hansa Concentrate

Concentrate Hansa manufactured by German proprietary technology at the production facilities of a plant in Lithuania.

It is a fine-grained white-blue powder from a mixture of crystals, packaged in plastic jars with lids or economical high-strength plastic bags.

The individual components act as catalysts and stimulate the decomposition of wood resins into combustible gases. Other elements themselves during the heating process produce gas compounds that destroy the structure of soot, soot and tar deposits.

Chimney Cleaner
Hansa Crystal Powder is simple and easy to use. It can be used not only for global cleaning of exhaust systems, but also for the prevention of settling of combustion products on the internal smooth and textured fragments of chimneys

The adhesion to the surface of the chimney system is weakening and all the excess goes into the atmosphere along with the rest of the emissions. The product is accompanied by detailed instructions explaining how to clean a home chimney of solid fuel stoves and boilers, open and closed fireplace complexes.

In addition to powder, the company produces Chimney sweep log and pellets for the preventive maintenance of heating units operating on granular fuel.

Remedy # 3 - Kominicek chemical composition

A drug Comedian manufactured in the Czech Republic. Designed to remove soot and other combustion products from the chimney that are prone to spontaneous ignition and impair the traction properties of stoves, boilers and fireplaces.

In the process of heating, it reacts with substances deposited on the inside of the pipes and decomposes them.

Chimney Cleaner
Use the product in strict accordance with the dosage specified by the manufacturer. You do not need to increase a one-time serving. It is better to repeat the procedure if necessary, and during the active heating season to do cleaning every two weeks

After servicing, stoves and fireplaces work more efficiently, and fuel consumption is markedly reduced. The possibility of spontaneous combustion of tarry and soot deposits is reduced to zero. The use of heating equipment again becomes safe, convenient and comfortable.

Means # 4 - Smoke products from Ecolays

Patriotic digging Ecolais manufactures products for cleaning chimneys in three versions:

  • granules;
  • box;
  • log.

The granular preparation is intended for pellet boilers and furnaces. It is mixed with a medium-grained fuel composition and poured into the furnace compartment.

The boxed version consists of metal salts and activated carbon. External labels are removed from it, put into the furnace, doused with a special liquid and set on fire. The product works for one and a half hours, turns soot into a brittle substance and stimulates its rapid combustion.

How to clean the chimney
The Smoke box does not give an instant result, but works in a prolonged mode for 14 days. The most complete and pronounced effect is seen 2-3 months after application

Log "Smoke" in shape resembles a neat bar of natural wood. It is laid in the furnace with a batch of firewood and does not give out its presence there.

In the process of heating produces a specific flame color azure. This means that the components have already reacted with deposits and the cleaning is proceeding normally.

Remedy # 5 - Spalsadz Cleansing Powder

Polish catalyst for burning tar and soot deposits Spalsadz available in powder form. It contains inorganic salts. In the process of increasing temperature, it releases components that decompose organic structures into water and carbon dioxide.

Cleaning chimneys with Spalsadz
The unique Spalsadz formula significantly speeds up the process of cleaning chimneys and significantly reduces the amount of sulfur dioxide emissions into the atmosphere

With ceramic fragments of the flue system, the drug does not react. After global cleaning, the efficiency of heating appliances increases by 20%.

The use of folk remedies

Opponents of chemicals and modern techniques prefer to clean smoke systems with the good old folk ways. They are more simple, affordable and recognized as the safest.

Natural components work slowly and delicately, but do not cause any damage and do not adversely affect the system and its constituent elements.

Method # 1 - Rock Salt Cleaning

Rock salt is one of the most affordable, cheap and environmentally friendly reagents for removing soot from chimneys. There is no need to specially prepare for cleaning. Just pour a few large handfuls into the wood and light a fire right away.

Chimney Cleaner
Rock salt cleaning is suitable for lightly soiled systems. A dense layer of soot and soot cannot be destroyed in this way. But as a prophylaxis, chimney canals can be treated with salt composition regularly

In the process of fuel burnout, a lot of oxygen is released. It softens the soot on the inner surface of the pipe and reduces its layer.

Part of the carbon deposits escapes into the atmosphere in the form of gas, and the remainder crumbles into the kindling part in the form of a dark powder. Then it can simply be raked out with a metal scoop or removed with a powerful vacuum cleaner.

Method # 2 - potato peel for pipes

Potato peel (peeling) is an easy way to rid the chimney of soot and soot. However, in order to achieve a noticeable effect, you will have to prepare a lot of cleanings - depending on the size of the stove or fireplace from half to a whole bucket.

First they need to be dried to a brittle condition and only then loaded into a well-heated firebox.

Natural remedy
To eliminate a wide layer of greasy soot deposits, potato peelings are not suitable. Organic combustion stimulants are much more active than mineral ones and can be more dangerous for humans than chemicals

In the process of catalysis, bituminous components will gradually burn out, and the result will resemble the effect of chemicals, only in a milder version.

Soot powder will pour into the furnace for a few more days, and then it will stop, and the overall level of efficiency of the system will improve. Periodic burning of potato peelings - excellent prevention of occurrence chimney back draft.

Method # 3 - aspen firewood to remove soot

Blasting a stove or fireplace with aspen wood is a simple and fairly effective cleaning procedure. Its convenience lies in the fact that no additional actions need to be performed. It is enough to place a wood bookmark in the firebox, light a fire and wait for its complete combustion.

Chimney Cleaner
There is no difficulty in distinguishing aspen firewood from any others. The forest tree has a smooth bark with a dull gray-green or slightly bluish tint and a very light, almost white color of fresh cut

As a resource for continuous heat production, aspen firewood is not advisable. They burn out too quickly and, in comparison with other types of wood, give an extremely weak heat transfer.

But, as a cleaning element, they are effective and popular. The chimney in the process of kindling is heated very strongly and is naturally cleaned of growths and deposits.

Features of mechanical cleaning

Mechanical cleaning of chimneys is another effective method of removing accumulated soot, soot and tarry deposits, which reduce the quality of the heating system.

It is carried out in two ways:

  • top;
  • lower.

Cleaning from above through the roof is carried out only under normal weather conditions and without wind. Necessarily requires experience, physical preparation and compliance with personal safety measures.

The master does all the work, standing on the roof of a residential building. With this option, the dirt does not enter the living quarters, but is extracted outside with the help of special devices.

Chimney cleaning by master
Usually, upper cleaning is carried out on fine, dry days in the fall in anticipation of the start of the heating season and in the spring after the end of the constant use of the stove or fireplace. This helps keep the chimney in good condition.

Bottom cleaning is carried out through the outlet of the furnace. The operation is safe and does not require being on the roof, but after it remains in the rooms a lot of dirt and residual combustion products.

Chimney cleaning
Most often, the lower method is resorted to in the winter, when the chimney canal needs to be cleaned, but objective weather conditions do not allow it to be done through the roof

The main machining tool is a wide brush for round pipes or a stiff brush for square pipes.

Work is labor intensive and requires some skill. Many owners prefer not to do it themselves, but are entrusted to a professional chimney sweep.

For more information about cleaning the smoke duct with your own hands, see this article.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

An interesting way to clean pipes that does not require lifting to the roof is simple, modern and efficient.

What to do if the stove or fireplace began to smoke, and traction is noticeably weakened. How to clean the drainage channels with your own hands.

A test of three popular chimney cleaning products. Real results and comparison of the effectiveness of drugs from different manufacturers.

Regular cleaning of chimney pipes and channels is a very necessary and useful procedure. It has a beneficial effect on the general condition of the heating system, restores the traction properties of the equipment and contributes to the economical consumption of the resource.

Preventive measures can be carried out as needed independently, clearly adhering to the instructions for the drugs and safety rules. For clogging or other more serious problems, it is better to use the services of experienced professionals.

Do you have personal experience cleaning a chimney stove or fireplace? Please tell your readers which carbon black removal method you used. Leave comments, ask questions and participate in discussions - the feedback form is located below.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Alina

    I grew up in a private house in the village. We had stove heating, so I remember well all the "charm" of cleaning the chimney. Now my parents live there. They found a good, convenient and quick way to get rid of soot. A man lives in the village, who himself made a certain adaptation as a fan. He on the roof lowers it into the chimney and soot takes off with a stream of air. I don’t know exactly how it works, but this procedure is enough for the season.

  2. If you do everything wisely, regularly prevent the accumulation of soot, then there should not be any problems with cleaning the chimneys of the furnace. In general, it is initially worthwhile to do without a large number of bends of the chimney, because it is in them that the soot likes to accumulate. The chimney must be insulated so that the channel warms up quickly and the dew point is as high as possible. In this case, mechanical cleaning may not be useful at all.