When your chimney needs to be cleaned, it's ideal to hire a cleaning service if you don't want to handle the messiness of the job or the risk that comes from being atop the roof. However, if you have the right equipment for the job, you're the do-it-yourself type and you make safety a priority, you can successfully do the job yourself. It's important never to underestimate the potential risk of this task, as a fall could leave you seriously injured. The safety steps you take are just as important as the cleaning process itself. Here are some safety considerations to prevent injury while cleaning your own chimney — and remember, if you get nervous at any point during the job, climb down and call a licensed chimney cleaner.
Use A Ladder Stabilizer
It's critical to add a ladder stabilizer to the top of your ladder before you attempt to climb to the roof to begin the process of cleaning the chimney. A ladder stabilizer will greatly improve the stability of your ladder and, while it's still good to have an assistant hold the base of the ladder for you, the wide feet and rubber tips of the attachment will prevent the top of the ladder from sliding, which is one of the most common ways to injure yourself when you're climbing up to your roof.
Wear A Harness
A harness will improve your safety when you're on the roof doing your job. There are many types of harnesses that you can buy; they're typically available for sale near the ladders in your local building supply store. In addition to the harness, you'll also need a heavy-duty length of rope to secure yourself to the chimney. By wrapping the rope around the base of the chimney, it can prevent you from sliding off the roof in the event that you slip and fall.
Use Breathing Gear
Safety while you're cleaning your chimney isn't just about preventing a fall. Since you'll be working in close quarters with the sooty chimney, it's important to wear a respirator that will filter out the soot instead of allowing you to breathe it in. Don't simply wear a dust mask; a proper respirator, which you can also find at your local home supply store, is a must. Even with the respirator, it's smart to take frequent breaks during the cleaning process so that the soot doesn't irritate your eyes.