If you feel like you are able to safely complete this task, here's how:
While it’s a great idea to have the chimney inspected by a professional FIRST, if you feel gung-ho, you may be able to do some maintenance yourself. (As always, these are not repair recommendations - use at your own risk and PLEASE BE SAFE!)
Here are some suggested steps for cleaning your chimney yourself:
Most people are better off hiring a pro, and for good reason. Chimney cleaning is less straightforward than it may seem, and it’s a job where experience counts. That said, with the right tools, skills, and knowledge of what to look for, it’s possible for a seasoned DIYer to clean their own chimney.
Buy a chimney brush that’s sized and shaped to fit your flue, and enough extension rods to run the flue’s entire length (rods come in 4-, 5-, and 6-foot lengths). For masonry flues, use a metal brush, and for stainless steel ones, use a poly brush. You can find these on a number of websites and in some stores, though they're not as readily available in West Texas as in colder areas of the country. Here's an example of a chimney brush:
To use a chimney brush, follow these steps:
That's it! You should have a much cleaner chimney going forward!
Remember, to avoid creosote build up in the future, use dry, hard woods for burning whenever possible.