Is this chimney sweep humming “Chim Chim Cher-ee” to himself while he cleans?­

­iStockphoto/Iztok Grilc

­If you're a fan of Disney movies, then the idea of a chimney sweep might conjure up romantic notions of the film, "Mary Poppins." However, once the sounds of "Chim Chim Cher-ee" fade, you might start to remember how dirty Dick Van Dyke's character Bert and all his chimney sweep friends were after finishing the job. Of course if a soot suit isn't your idea of fun, you can use a professional service to clean your chimney. But if the thought of a little grime doesn't send you grappling for the phone, then you can certainly try to tackle the task yourself.

Whether you decide to clean a chimney yourself or hire a professional, either way you'll want to make sure a good job is done. Cleaning a chimney is im­portant to prevent chimney fires -- and potential house fires. Therefore, the cleaner -- be it you or a professional -- must be thorough and comprehensive in carrying out the cleaning. You're not just clearing out the soot and dust, but you need to scrape and remove creosote that has built up on your chimney walls.

­There are four basic methods for cleaning a chimney, each of which require some special tools. This article will list the tools needed, describe the steps and methods involved in cleaning your chimney, and point out any safety concerns you might encounter. So, whether you're DIYing this project or calling in a professional, you'll know what to look for to make sure the job is done right.

Generally, those simple hand brooms Dick Van Dyke's character Bert and his friends danced with aren't going to cut it. Read on to discover the tools needed to clean a chimney.

­