Your typical chimney cleaning company has a staggering variety of specialized tools that they bring to any job. Actually, depending on how you look at it, you could say that they only have two or three, but that’s kind of like saying that a professional chef has “knives” and leaving it at that. In order to understand the tools, you have to start with an understanding of why the tools exist.
Creosote is a nasty substance that builds up on the inside of your chimney flue. It can slow down the flow of air through the chimney, making your fireplace smoky — and it can also light on fire itself, causing massive wear on the chimney and possible a house fire! Experts recommending getting the creosote building professionally removed from your chimney once a year.
The primary tool used to accomplish that goal is the chimney brush, which looks very much like a very long and very wiry (and very large) cotton swab. But unlike your typical Q-Tip, a chimney brush has a removable head and comes with a myriad of various brushes. Some are circular, some are square, some are ovoid — and each shape comes in a variety of sizes. That’s because a brush that’s too large won’t fit in the chimney, while a brush that’s too small or the wrong shape won’t eliminate the buildup effectively. Chimney brushes have very stiff bristles, long extension rods, and are universally used from the top of the chimney.
For cleaning out the fireplace itself, another variety of smaller, handheld wire brushes come into ply. Among them is a scout brush, a two foot long brush designed for cleaning the smoke chamber; a wire duster brush that can get into all of the minute cracks and crevices in your fireplace and get the soot out; and a Millbury brush that is carefully designed to maximize it’s ability to get the ashes and soot off of hearth itself.
All of these brushes don’t even start to get into the tools that a chimney repair company might bring if you’ve got evidence that your chimney needs repair or repointing. With everything that they have at their disposal, it’s no surprise that these companies get the job done right!