Chimney FAQS

How often do I need my chimney swept?
All working systems should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year no matter what they are venting. Systems venting wood burning appliances or stoves need to be cleaned more frequently as they create a greater creosote build-up.

How do I know if I need to have my system cleaned?
Look for these signs

  • Specks of soot dripping into the fireplace
  • Tar build-up is visible
  • A strong odor coming from the fireplace or stove
  • There is reduced draft and smoke is backing up into your home
  • If the house was just purchased and you do not know the last time it was cleaned
  • An animal has built a nest somewhere in the system

What is involved in a cleaning?
The first thing a sweep will do is check the appliance or stove and prepare for the cleaning by putting down drop clothes or protective covers. This will keep your home clean during the cleaning process.

He should then inspect the condition of the exterior and interior of the system.

If no repairs are needed he will sweep the system clean of creosote build-up. He should then clean the appliance or stove from any creosote that may have fallen down the chimney during the cleaning process.

Water leaks into my chimney, what can I do?
If the water is coming in from the top of the system, you can reseal the crown with Crown Sealer

Many times installing a flue cap will solve a water problem. If you do not have a flue cap, you may have an opening in the chimney that is 12" x 12" that is wide open to water entering the chimney.

What is a Flue Cap?

Smoke keeps filling the room, what is causing this?
There can be many factors that can contribute to this problem, ranging from air pressure to cold flue temperatures. An experienced professional can identify the problem and recommend a solution. Read More

What about chimney fires
By definition these fires are the burning of soot and creosote that has accumulated in a connector pipe or chimney. These fires can be the result of improper maintenance and operations of a heating system.

These fires are extremely dangerous even though they vary in intensity and duration. The temperatures in the flue during a chimney fire can often exceed 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. You can watch the top of the venting system for flames that can leap out or even through the cracks in the system walls. Flames could ignite roofs and any other parts of the house.

These fires can damage liners, crack venting system walls and damage factory built metal venting systems. Chimney fires can burn explosively. Homeowners report hearing a loud rumble or roar that sounds like an airplane, glowing or red-hot connectors, vibrating connectors and/or stove.

Smoke and odors noticeable in adjoining rooms or in the attic are signs of a fire inside your venting system.

Many homeowners ask sweeps what should be done if they experience a fire in the venting system.

  • Alert people in the household first and get them out of the house.
  • Call 911.
  • If you have a wood stove or insert, shut any doors and air inlets dampers on the appliance to deprive the system of air, for open fireplaces, close the fireplace doors if accessible.

Chimney fires don't have to happen

  • Use seasoned woods only (dryness is more important than hard wood versus soft wood.)
  • Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or Christmas trees. These can spark a fire in the venting system.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temps.
  • Have the system inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.

More on chimney safety.

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