Frequenty Asked Questions
Why should I have my chimney inspected?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, chimneys should be inspected or cleaned annually.
The chimney and fireplace system is quite complicated and an inspection can alert you to a potential problem before it becomes a costly repair or a safety issue. Homeowners are often unaware of problems that may exist.
It is always a good idea to schedule your inspection and cleaning in the late summer or early fall, before you begin using the chimney or furnace during the winter season.
If you have just purchased your home, we recommend getting a chimney inspection and sweep before using the fireplace to be sure it is safe to burn.
How does a Chimney Sweep clean a chimney? Will it make a mess?
Technicians follow specific guidelines and procedures that guarantee a thorough and professional job.
We will inspect your chimney with a state-of-the-art chimney camera that will allow us to see the entirety of your flue system. We put down clean floor coverings around your fireplace and always clean up all work areas. Our specialized tools and powerful vacuums will prevent any soot or dust from entering your home.
Our qualified technicians are more than just Chimney Sweeps, they are fully trained at diagnosing potential problem areas in your Chimney. If we see something that is not right, we will notify you on your inspection report and give you an estimate to repair it.
We never do any repairs or work without the customer’s permission. We advise that customers go ahead and have a full annual inspection along with their cleaning just to stay on top of any maintenance or safety issues that may be present.
What is Creosote, how does it get in the chimney and why is it dangerous?
The CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) recommends that masonry chimneys should be cleaned when there is a quarter-inch buildup of soot and creosote.
Factory-built insert fireplaces can become a hazard with a much thinner build-up on the inside walls. Either type can reach a dangerous level after burning as little as a cord of wood, so your cleaning schedule may end up being 1 or 2 times per year.
Even if you don’t use your chimney much, there is always the chance that animals have built nests during the summer that can form a blockage or things like leaves can accumulate during the Fall.
How do I take care of my chimney?
There are a few simple steps to ensuring that your chimney is safe and ready to burn:
- Call for an annual Sweep and Inspection. Inspections can catch serious and potentially dangerous issues that may lead to fires. Frequent cleanings are important for preventing the buildup of a flammable substance called creosote.
- The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends cleaning your chimney once every 36 fires, so keep track and be sure that you’re cleaning your chimney frequently enough to keep you safe.
- Make sure that you are burning dry seasoned wood that is specifically for woodstoves and fireplaces – never use green or unseasoned wood.
- Make sure the damper position is properly set to “open” to allow smoke and combustion gases to escape, and when your fireplace is no longer in use, and the fire is completely out, close the damper.
What do I do if my chimney is blocked?
A chimney is designed to safely and effectively remove the dangerous fire byproducts produced within the fireplace out of the home.
When it becomes clogged, it can no longer perform this important role. A blocked chimney may seem minor, when left unaddressed, but it can lead to many more dangerous problems including fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and toxic fumes. If you suspect your chimney is blocked, it is worth the effort to have it checked out by a professional.
Blocked chimneys occur for several reasons, including animals, nests, debris and creosote buildup. Some warning signs of a blocked chimney to watch for are:
- A smoky smell when burning a fire
- Falling debris inside the hearth
- Water streaks inside the flue
- Excessive soot
- White residue on the flue walls
Clearing a blocked chimney is a job best left for a professional. They have the tools necessary to reach and remove the debris clogging the flue. How quickly and easily the chimney is cleared will depend on how compact the blockage is.
To prevent clogs in the future, an annual chimney cleaning is recommended. Regular cleanings will keep your flue clear while also warning you of any potential problems before they turn into costly repairs. Installing a chimney cap onto the flue can also help limit the number of clogs your chimney experiences.
If you suspect your chimney is blocked, contact us today for a sweep and inspection.