Chimney Sweeping & Cleaning You Can Trust
We know here’s nothing quite like gathering in front of a cozy fire with the ones you love. Rain or shine, winter or spring, for many, the fireplace is the center of a home. It makes sense then to care for it – and all of its parts – the way you would the rest of your home.
Did you know, that in accordance with National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) regulations, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends getting your chimney inspected every year to ensure all parts are in place and everything is working as it should? …even if you don’t ever (or rarely ever) use your fireplace or wood stove?
Luckily for those in Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas, Ozark Stove & Chimney makes the process as easy and seamless as possible. If you’re looking for professional chimney cleaning in the Greene County, MO, Benton County, AR, and countless counties surrounding, give us a call. Dial our number now or book online with us today.
What’s the Difference Between Chimney Sweeping & Chimney Cleaning?
So, technically, there is no real difference between the two terms – both refer to the process of clearing the system of any buildup and/or debris and ensuring your chimney is operating in tip-top shape.
However, considering that chimneys serve the sole purpose of ventilating a home and releasing the toxic fumes and gases naturally created from a burning oil, gas, or wood fire, they can’t ever really be properly “cleaned.” Even with excellent and timely care and maintenance, soot, ash, and a byproduct called creosote accumulate within the firebox and the flue lining your chimney.
We prefer the term “chimney sweeping,” as it is more accurate to what a sweep actually does when we clean your chimney. Utilizing specifically designed brushes and tools, we “sweep” the chimneys clear (as much as possible anyway!) of soot, debris, creosote buildup, and other materials that may cause inefficiencies, odors, or the production of dangerous chemicals when a fire is burned in the hearth.
That said, we know many use these terms interchangeably – and we’re fine with that. So, whether you say “sweeping” or “cleaning,” no worries. We know what you mean.
Why Do You Need to Clean a Chimney?
Much like other houseware maintenance, it’s important to keep your chimney – and all of your other appliances – clean and clear to ensure optimal functioning. In the case of chimneys specifically, improper care and neglect can cause serious harm both to your home and your family.
A full-functioning, properly cleaned chimney system works to streamline the exit route for the smoke and gas of every fire burned in your wood stove or fireplace. Forced up and out by the difference in temperature between the inside of the chimney flue (or liner inside the walls of the chimney) and the home, smoke seamlessly rises and exits through the top of chimney.
In a dirty chimney, though, the smoke would have nowhere to go and would instead fill the house with its naturally emitted gases and substances – like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, soot, smoke, etc. Chimneys provide the perfect escape route for all of this dangerous matter.
What Are the Dangers of Using a Dirty Chimney?
Like we mentioned earlier, chimneys and fires only go well together when the chimney is clean and cared for. Without regular, annual chimney sweepings, you could be putting your home and your family at risk – even if you don’t use your chimney all that regularly. The following are some of the dangers that can arise if you skip out on your chimney cleaning.
Have you ever looked at the inside of your fireplace and wondered what that hardened, oily-looking, soot-like material is? It’s called creosote and it’s a byproduct of wood combustion. It is also highly combustible and the leading cause of chimney fires.
While there are precautions you can take (such as only burning very dry wood and/or investing in a chimney thermometer to ensure your fires are burning as hot as possible), ultimately, the only way you can be absolutely sure that your chimney is clear and as safe as possible is having a professional chimney sweep perform routine maintenance.
Because you can’t see the entire system when you’re snuggled up in front of the fire on a crisp fall evening, you might not be thinking about the part that comes out of your roof and is exposed to the elements. Your chimney should have a cap in place to prevent debris (like leaves, twigs, and anything else) from entering your chimney and disrupting your ability to properly and effectively utilize your furnace, wood stove or fireplace.
Animal Nests… & Worse
It’s also very possible – especially if your chimney cap was not installed properly, your system has not been evaluated recently, or you don’t regularly light fires in your firebox – that animals find their way inside and build their homes and families.
Birds, squirrels, other rodents, raccoons, etc. are all excellent climbers (or flyers), and if your chimney has any space to squeeze into, it could be the perfect spot to keep warm in the winter. Similarly, depending on the state of your chimney (in terms of overall maintenance, amount of debris/clogged material, etc.), critters can get stuck and meet their demise – a less than ideal scenario if you’re simply looking to create that comfy cozy atmosphere by starting a little fire.
It’s also important to be aware of the overall potential for chimney fires. Creosote might be the main culprit in causing chimney fires, but it is certainly not the only. There are many different reasons a chimney might catch fire, and all of them are a direct result of a dirty chimney – or at least one that is not maintained. Not to worry, though. As long as you are taking proper precautions and keeping your chimney as clean as possible, most chimney fires are preventable.
Fortunately, if you are a homeowner in the Greene County, MO, Benton County, AR, or anywhere else in our service area, Ozark Stove and Chimney provides the best professional chimney cleaning services, all done by CSIA-trained technicians. Don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule your routine chimney sweeping today. Looking to schedule a chimney repair service? Or, perhaps your annual inspection? We can do that too; we’re here for you and all your chimney needs.
What if My Chimney Is Not Made of Brick? Does It Still Need To Be Swept?
Yes, it does. Regardless of the type of chimney – traditional brick masonry, prefabricated or other factory-built system, freestanding stove-specific, and others – it is equally as important to ensure they are regularly inspected, cleaned, and properly maintained. While it might not seem as obvious as that of a traditional wood-burning fireplace chimney, any appliance, including oil and gas, that comes into contact with such high temperatures and harsh gases requires occasional attention and a little TLC to keep your family and your home safer and warmer.
In some ways, these systems could be considered more dangerous than their fire-burning counterparts – at least when it comes down to determining whether or not something is wrong. Though it might not always be innately obvious that a brick chimney needs cleaning, you can still see traces of soot, ash, and the general presentation of regular use. When compared to non-wood alternatives, it’s rather hard to determine when you may need to schedule a chimney cleaning. Gas furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, etc. – the functionality identical to a brick chimney, which is to release exhaust – may not produce the same visible byproducts and thus can make it quite challenging to determine if/when there is a problem until it is too late and is either too dangerous or expensive to repair.
All that to say, no matter what type of exhaust-producing appliance you have in your home, Ozark Stove & Chimney is here to make the cleaning and sweeping process as easy and painless as possible. Give us a call to speak with one of our technicians and see what we can do to make your life and your home maintenance that much more manageable.
How Often Does a Chimney Really Need to be Swept?
Well, the short answer is “it depends, but at least once a year.”
But the more accurate and longer answer requires more information about your specific chimney system, like how often it is used, the type of fuel you burn, and many other factors that you might not even realize.
Like we touched on earlier, burning wood produces creosote. The more wood that is burned, the more creosote is produced. The more creosote that is produced, the easier it is for said creosote to build up along the walls of the flue liner and create blockages. These blockages are harmful not only because creosote in and of itself is incredibly combustible, but also because any sort of blockage – even if it’s somewhat minor – makes it difficult for the smoke from your fire to escape.
This is multi-problematic, too. When smoke is not properly streamlined and ventilated, it can cause a downdraft – this is what it’s called when the smoke blows back into your living room, as opposed to up and out of your chimney. A downdraft exposes your home and family to more than just the overwhelming scent of fire and smoke – it also introduces carbon monoxide, that odorless and deadly gas that can go undetected.
So, if you are a family that uses your fireplace or wood stove regularly (AKA our kind of people!), you might consider sweeping your chimney more often than just the routine, once a year. However, this is something to determine after discussing things with your chimney technician when they come to perform the annual inspection.
What if I Don’t Use My Wood Stove or Fireplace? Does My Chimney Still Need to be Cleaned?
Yes, absolutely. It’s a common misconception that if you have a fireplace or wood stove that you do not use, that means that maintenance is not necessary. This could not be further from the truth. While an unused chimney might not be as dirty or creosote-coated as one that is in regular use, it is still an appliance that should be regularly checked on. Even when dormant, a chimney system is susceptible to damage – much of which might go unnoticed if the health of your chimney isn’t on your mind.
Why should you still schedule annual chimney sweepings?
- The overall health of the exterior brick and mortar of your chimney has relatively little to do with the frequency with which it expels smoke from your home. Thus, the materials that make up the outside of your chimney are still susceptible to harsh winds, excessive snow, and other different weather conditions.
- An unused chimney makes a particularly perfect place for animals to crawl inside and “set up shop.”
- Regardless of whether it is in use or not, various debris can find its way into your chimney and create a blockage that, should you ever decide you’d like to light a fire, could prevent the fumes from exiting properly and introduce toxic, harmful gases into your home.
All that to say, whether your fireplace is a functional staple of your home’s heating routine or simply a nice location to display all those lovely family photos (and to make your home look festive during the holiday season – we know that’s Elf on a Shelf’s preferred spot), you should still get the chimney for any home heating appliance swept annually.
It’s always better to be proactive than reactive, but this is especially true when it comes to the health and safety of your sacred space and the ones you love. That way, if we ever do find something to be amiss, we can be sure to get you scheduled for the appropriate chimney repair service right away.
How Can I Tell if My Chimney Needs Cleaning?
Much like we mentioned in the section above, this can also vary from house to house and chimney to chimney. For example, if a critter found its way into the top of your chimney, unless you wish to imitate Dick Van Dyke and frequent your own rooftop (which, we sincerely hope is not the case), you’d likely have no idea your system was somewhat compromised – and thus poses a potential threat to your home and safety.
This is why it is vital to schedule regular sweeping and inspection where a professional comes in and examines your system from top to bottom. From there, you can speak with your chimney technician about your burning habits and establish a personalized maintenance and chimney sweeping schedule.
While the following do not replace annual chimney inspection and cleaning, here is a list of things to keep an eye on that indicate it might be time for your chimney to be swept:
- It smells like a campfire in and around your wood stove or fireplace (even if there is no fire burning).
- You notice a decent amount of soot, ash, and creosote beginning to coat the inside of your firebox or flue.
- When you light a fire, smoke seems to have a hard time escaping out of the chimney and begins to waft back into your living room.
- Your fire is burning strangely – or the logs don’t seem to ignite as efficiently as they once did.
- You’re able to light it fine, but it appears to be having a hard time staying lit.
Can I Clean My Chimney Myself?
So. You’ve been reading this article, watching lots of HGTV and YouTube videos, and scouring Google for “what do professional chimney sweeps use?” You understand basic chimney function and structure and can now totally clean yours yourself. Seems easy enough, right?
Wrong. For as common and seemingly simplistic as the chimney system might seem, these appliances are deceivingly complex. Dangerous, too, if you’re not trained and you don’t quite know exactly what you’re doing. By nature, chimneys come into contact with harsh and toxic fumes and chemicals that professional, CSIA-certified chimney techs are trained to handle that homeowners simply aren’t aware of.
Also, many areas that might require the most cleaning are often located deep within the walls of your flue liner and are thus out of reach. It’s best to leave all that dirty work to the professionals like us.
Is there a chimney cleaning kit? Or a homemade chimney cleaner?
On that note, we’re sure you’ve come across a myriad of products and tools designed to help you clean your own chimney – like kits containing brushes, little putty pots designed to remove creosote, creosote sweeping logs, etc. Perhaps you’ve even tried to find a formula for a “homemade chimney cleaner.” While these various products can help reduce the amount of soot buildup and potentially slow the overall degradation of your chimney (except for a homemade cleaner… we don’t recommend this in any capacity), they do not replace the important process of having your chimney professionally swept or inspected.
For homeowners in Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas, you needn’t worry about trying to “DIY” yourself into a potentially catastrophic situation. Give us a call to schedule your chimney sweeping or book online with us today.
Is a Chimney Sweep Worth It?
Absolutely. Chimney technicians are trained professionals who know all there is to know about the inner and outer workings of your chimney system. Certainly, the job involves more than just getting filthy and tap-dancing around the rooftops of London – though we do enjoy our profession in our own way!
Trusting a trained professional is a necessary part of maintaining an optimal home when you have a chimney. The results you get when you partner with Ozark Stove and Chimney and our chimney technicians will far outweigh any “quick fixes” or cheaper alternatives you find online.
Plus, chimney sweeps are rumored to bring luck and good fortune – and who doesn’t want those?
How Much Does a Chimney Sweep Cost?
As much as we wish we could give you a confident, “be-all, end-all” price estimate, unfortunately, the truth is that it depends on a multitude of factors. For example, not only must you take into consideration the state of your hearth and chimney system, but also the location, experience, and expertise of the chimney sweep company.
For homeowners in the area, we believe Ozark Stove and Chimney is the best choice for excellent, high-quality service and customer experience – as well as fair and appropriate pricing.
Give us a call to schedule a visit with one of our technicians – they’ll give you a more accurate estimate after they’ve visited your property.
How Long Does It Take a Chimney Sweep to Clean a Chimney?
By now you’re probably annoyed by this answer, but… it depends.
For instance, if a family of squirrels happened to have recently taken up residence in your chimney, the process of sweeping your chimney has now been made that much more time-consuming than your neighbor’s, who might not even use their fireplace.
That being said, your service could run anywhere from a couple of hours to the better part of a day. It all just really depends on the amount of debris and creosote buildup, the state of your flue, and generally how well-maintained the entire system is.
To get the most accurate time estimate, give us a call today. Remember, we’re here to make your life easier.
What Time of Year Is Best to Clean a Chimney?
Not surprisingly, the best time of the year to have your chimney swept is during the spring or summer. Not only does this allow for your tech to diagnose any issues that may need addressing before the weather cools and you’d likely be using your system more regularly, but it also ensures you’re getting the service done before the chimney company’s busy season in the fall.
We always recommend homeowners to schedule sooner rather than later to ensure that excellent 5-star companies like ours still have availability. If you put it off for too long, you run the risk of ending up on a waiting list somewhere, or, alternatively, paying for subpar service. As we approach the slower summer season, we encourage Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas homeowners to speak with one of our technicians and put your name in our books. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late!
Give Us a Call & Schedule Your Cleaning, Today
If you’re looking for professional, high quality, 5-star chimney cleaning services in your Southwestern Missouri or Northwestern Arkansas home, look no further. You’ve come to the right place. Reach out to learn more about us and what we can do for you.
Call 417-201-6585 or schedule with us online today.