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Chimney Sweep Equipment: 9 Essential Tools for Pros

December 13, 2023 6 min. read
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Chimney cleaning can be messy, tiring work—but it goes a lot smoother when you can bust creosote fast, brush more efficiently, and do it all without damaging flues and smoke chambers.

You’ll make every customer visit easier from the beginning by starting your chimney cleaning business with the right cleaning equipment.

In this article, we’ll walk you through nine essential tools to buy for professional chimney sweep jobs and where to find them.

1. Chimney brushes and rods

Different shapes and linings of chimneys need different cleaning tools. Before you purchase these essential chimney brushes, we’ll walk you through what each of them is best for.

All types of chimney brushes

Wire brushes

Wire brushes are stiff, durable brushes that chimney sweeps use to scrape off soot, creosote, and ash from hard inner chimney walls.

Made of steel, the bristles on a wire chimney brush are great for masonry chimneys, which are the toughest to scrape and clean.

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Poly brushes

Softer than wire brushes, poly brushes have polypropylene plastic bristles. A poly chimney brush can effectively remove lighter soot without damaging more delicate chimney lining (like clay tile).

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Smoke chamber brushes

Smoke chamber brushes can come with a U-shaped head or long, flexible bristles that help you scrub along the creases of a smoke chamber’s interior walls.

Smoke chambers collect hard, glazed creosote and a different type of soot than a flue collects, so they can be harder to clean than the rest of a chimney. That’s why a specialized chamber brush is a must.

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Rotary cleaning kit

A rotary cleaning system uses a power drill and a special brush to clean more efficiently than a typical brush would.

To use this kit, you attach a brush with nylon bristles to a powered rod that rotates the brush at a high speed. Because the nylon bristles are softer on chimney lining than poly and wire, rotary brushes work well for flexible chimney liners.

The SootEater made this type of chimney sweep kit popular, and that’s your best bet for a reliable rotary cleaning system.

Chimney rods

Chimney rods attach to your brushes to help you reach deep into a customer’s chimney. Use a flexible chimney brush rod for curved chimneys, and a rigid rod to clean straight chimneys with more force.

Chimney rods

Rods usually come in packs, and you can even purchase them in a complete chimney brush kit that comes with a brush and other cleaning accessories.

If you’re buying chimney rod packs alone, here are the main types to look for:

  • Rigid rods help you clean straight sections of chimney flues where you need precise control and stronger force.
  • Flexible rods, usually made of fiberglass, let you navigate your brush around bends and curves in a chimney.
  • Extension rods, or telescopic poles, help you reach deeper into chimneys and clean taller ones.
  • Rotary cleaning rods are connected to a drill, which powers a rotating motion. High-speed rotation helps your brushes scrub chimney walls faster and more thoroughly.

2. Creosote remover

Breaking down and cleaning off creosote is an essential part of chimney cleaning. There are two main types of creosote remover to choose from:

  • Liquid creosote removal spray is best for light, flaky creosote and easy to apply on hard-to-reach surfaces. A spray like Anti-Creo-Soot is great for fireplaces, pellet stoves, as well as wood and coal-burning stoves.
  • Creosote removal powder works on heavier creosote buildup in a wood stove or fireplace. You can throw some powders, like the Rutland Creosote Remover, onto hot coals. Or, find a sprayable powder like the Cre-Away Creosote Modifier that goes directly onto chimney walls.

3. Sealers and waterproofers

Also called chimney water repellent, sealer protects the bricks, mortar, or concrete of a chimney with a barrier that guards against moisture. 

Applying sealer to the clean, dry surface of a chimney creates a barrier against water penetration. Keeping moisture away helps maintain the structural integrity of a chimney over time.

Many sealers work for multiple materials, but read the label to be sure it’s suitable for your customer’s chimney type before you use it. Some stone sealers don’t work well on brick chimneys, for example.

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4. Glass cleaner

Use glass cleaner on the glass doors of fireplaces and wood stoves. These liquid cleaners remove soot, tar, and residue buildup, preventing permanent stains and damage to the glass.

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5. Inspection tools

Here are the inspection tools you’ll need to properly inspect flues and chimneys for blockages, damage, and hazardous buildup.

Chimney camera kit

A chimney camera helps you see the inside of the flue and smoke chamber from above or below the chimney.

Most chimney cameras are endoscopic—this means the camera is at the end of a long cable. Most chimney sweeps feed this cable from the top of the flue to get live footage of the interior chimney.

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Inspection mirrors

Inspection mirrors help you inspect hard-to-view areas inside the chimney with more control, as you’re holding onto the mirror with a long, attached rod. These rods are often extendable and adjustable.

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6. Face respirators

You’ll need a face respirator to protect yourself from breathing chemical fumes, dust, soot, and other debris. Choose a full-face respirator to cover your eyes, nose, and mouth completely.

Better yet, look for a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR). This type of respirator uses a HEPA filter to remove over 99% of contaminants before air enters the mask.

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7. Harness and fall protection kit

When you’re on a client’s roof, prevent accidents with a harness and fall protection kit.

A harness securely wraps around you as you work, while the fall protection system—typically made of ropes and anchors—keeps you safe and stable.

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8. Chimney sweep estimating software

Chimney sweep software like Jobber helps business owners create quotes, schedule service calls, invoice, and collect payments—from the office or the job site.

Between annual inspections, sweeps, and repairs, you can save time and effort putting together estimates for customers using Jobber.

Chimney sweep estimate example

Jobber helps you automatically send quote follow-up emails, collect a signature online, and easily access estimate details when the job starts.

Once you schedule a cleaning, you can attach chimney or fireplace photos to a client’s file for reference so you’re caught up with the work to be done on-site.

two mobile devices displaying business quoting software. The first shows a service business quote and the second shows an optional line item to upgrade the service.

You’ll save hours on admin work by keeping all client and chimney details organized in a clean client management system.

When the job is complete, use the Jobber Card Reader to collect payment with one tap. You’ll get paid faster and impress your customers with a convenient, professional experience.

9. Accounting software

Accounting software is essential for managing expenses, payments, payroll, and all your finance work. QuickBooks Online is ideal for chimney cleaning businesses of all sizes that need to track:

  • Payments from clients
  • Payments to contractors or employees
  • Costs related to chimney cleaning services, like cleaning supplies
  • Receipts to prepare for tax season and claim tax deductions

Plus, QuickBooks integrates with Jobber so you can keep your customer, invoice, and payment information accurate without any double-entry.

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