Is it necessary to have my chimney cleaned?

The work of a chimney sweep is to eliminate blockages, accumulated creosote and soot from your chimney firebox, damper, liner and smoke chamber. This cleaning process will help to improve the safety of your heating system. Just a small buildup of creosote glazing is enough to raise the potential of getting a chimney fire. Creosote is a highly combustible material that collects inside a chimney or liner when wood is burnt. The buildup rate may be increased by poor burning methods or if your burning stove or appliance is not working properly. The amount of creosote created depends on the type of wood that is burnt. For instance, you should avoid using pine as a source of wood regularly because burning it causes rapid accumulation of creosote. Creosote can also lessen the appeal of the fireplace and minimize efficiency.

How often should chimney inspections be scheduled?

To ensure that all their systems are in proper working condition, it is advisable for homeowners to arrange for an annual chimney inspection. The majority of homeowners also prefer to have chimney cleaning done each year, particularly if they use their fireplace frequently. Other venting systems that are associated with stoves and furnaces require to be cleaned regularly in order to ensure safer operation. The fireplace, furnace, stove and heating device systems are essential to the safety of your home and family and this is a matter that you should never ignore or skimp on. You must not run the risk of having a hidden defect turn into a costly repair job or even worse, a chimney fire.

In case you seldom use your stove or fireplace, it is still recommended that you inspect all stove systems, chimneys, furnace flues and heat venting systems once every year. In the course of these inspections, you can discover defects and other problems that need to be acted on even though cleaning may not be necessary. If you use the same chimney sweep firm on a regular basis, they will normally place you on an annual inspection program. They will guide you on the right time to sweep as they perform these inspections.

It is also important to arrange for an inspection if you have bought your home recently. If you delay, this will most likely result in extra repairs or sometimes even loss of property. Homeowners in America lose more than 200 million dollars every year due to their continued use of risky systems.

It is also vital to have your venting systems inspected when you have added a fireplace insert or stove or upgraded or changed your heating system. Conducting an inspection will ensure that your chimney, venting and lining systems are functioning properly and can cope with the new changes.

In case you have not used your fireplace for an extended period of time, pests can build nests that can block your chimney chamber or flue. A yearly combination of moist and winter freeze cycles can also affect the masonry and liner materials. After a number of years, the degradation will finally need to be addressed. If unchecked, daily wear and tear can impact on your system’s performance. Failing to address the defects will lead to costly repairs. In essence, monitoring and being in control of your systems is the wisest, safest and most cost-effective course of action that you can take.

How frequently should my chimney be cleaned?

This will be determined by the level of usage of your stove or fireplace. According to the National Fire Protection Association, chimneys, vents and fireplaces ought to be checked for soundness, proper clearances and freedom from deposits at least once every year. Repairs, cleaning and maintenance should be done whenever it is required. Therefore, even though you do not use your chimney that much, raccoons, birds, squirrels and other small animals might have been using your chimney. This makes it risky to use it unless you first remove the debris that has accumulated as a result of nesting activities.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that fireplaces must be cleaned when an eighth of an inch of soot buildup can be seen in the flue system and chimney. If a glaze can be observed in the flue, cleaning must be done even though the buildup is less than an eighth of an inch thick. Any significant buildup of creosote and soot is sufficient to fuel a chimney fire that can ruin the chimney and even extend to the parts of the roof and the rest of your home. You must also remember to clean furnace flue systems regularly.

There are some heavily used fireplaces that yield a tremendous amount of creosote and soot during cleaning-sometimes as much as 10 gallons of material. It is important to remove this material in order to keep on using the fireplace and minimize the risk of chimney fires that are sparked off when this highly inflammable material accumulates to dangerous levels.

Which is the best season for chimney cleaning?

Preferably, before the burning season kicks off in early fall, summer or spring is a good time to have your chimney inspected and/or cleaned. It is advisable to get in touch with your chimney sweep before you think about firing up your furnace or making a fire when the weather changes. Perhaps you did not remember to do the early cleaning before you began to use the fireplace, furnace or stove? We can clean or inspect your chimney at any time during the year, so there is no need of delaying until the fall.