How do you Know When Your Chimney Needs to be Cleaned?
Often, we may not think about chimney sweeping – one of the most important parts of the fireplace – though it is critical for removing the hazard of chimney fires. There isn’t a minimum for how often you should sweep your chimney, but here we’ll clarify how to check the chimney to know when it’s the proper time for sweeping.
The Necessity of the Chimney Sweeping
The gases that pass through the chimney, commonly referred to as soot begins to accumulate on the walls. This includes a flammable substance called creosote. Over time, these deposits begin to obstruct the chimney, leads to an inefficient chimney performance, allow harmful gases to escape from the room, eventually progress to chimney fires. Also, typical obstructions occur by birds’ nests, soot falls and building debris. We can reduce the creosote buildup by providing enough combustion air. But keeping the chimney clean or chimney sweep is the key step in preventing chimney fires.
When Should You Call a Professional Chimney Sweep?
Never leave it too late to have your cleaned chimney. As a rule, look out for the following advanced signs that can tell you when you should clean your chimney or if it involves a massive buildup of soot and creosote when you should call a professional chimney sweep.
The main signs you should definitely clean your chimney or should call a professional chimney sweep:
- When you smell burned wood from the fireplace while it’s not being used, it indicates that stage one or two creosote has accumulated.
- Smoke flooding the house is a sign of stage three creosote or even a chimney fire.
- When you find a honey-comb of black tar, which indicates a slow-burning in the chimney.
- If the fire starts difficultly or burns slowly. This may be due to an obstruction of airflow.
- When you find rust on your firebox or the damper. The cause of rust on the firebox or damper should always be investigated. Moisture may cause rust due to cracks in the flue lining and can be dangerous.
- When you find various remnants of substances at the bottom of the fireplace. Some of these remnants can be chimney tile and can come from a shaling flue liner.
- When there is moisture in your chimney. Moisture from rainfall can permeate the brick of the chimney. Over time, this creates spalling, which appear as white flaking that called efflorescence. It is an indication that the bricks are damaged.This can be caused by cracked masonry or a number of other issues.
- When you find that the mortar joints are cracked. This could eventually lead to your chimney collapsing.
For most of the problems, you usually can’t fix it on your own and we recommend that you call a professional chimney sweep to prevent your chimney from causing more damage or dangerous situations.
How Often Should You Sweep Your Chimney?
The matter depends on how much you use it, the kinds of the fuel and the type of wood. For example, for smokeless coals, oil and gas you should clean it at least once a year. However, wood burning fireplaces should be cleaned at least once per season. It’s best to have the chimney swept before cold winter sets in. Some people prefer chimney sweeping in the spring, you can benefit from our special promotions at this time of year.
Steps to Sweep the Chimney in an Easy Manner
There are different methods for cleaning your chimney, but the favored method is from the top to the bottom of the chimney. If possible, do it when the chimney is warm or use lukewarm water to clean your chimney. Creosote is easier to remove from warm surfaces.
- Buy the right size brush for the job. Take the chimney’s interior measurements from the top of the chimney.
- Tape a cloth around the fireplace opening. This will keep the ashes and other debris in the firebox.
- Open the fireplace damper and wear your protective apparel.
- For the chimney sweep remove the chimney cap and clean it with the stiff-bristled brush.
- Assemble the chimney sweep brush and rods. Make sure all fittings are securely fastened.
- Lower the brush into the top of the chimney. It can be hard to reach the bottom of the flue, which is why we recommend calling a professional chimney sweep.
- Check your work with the flashlight.
- Remove the cloth from the fireplace opening. Use the stiff-bristled brush to scrub the damper and the firebox.
- Use creosote prevention products inside the firebox on a regular basis to prevent a massive buildup of creosote.
It is possible to clean your chimney by yourself. However, it is a somewhat messy process and most of the time you can’t reach all the spots.
The benefits of hiring a professional chimney sweep who has had the proper training and experience are more useful. A professional chimney sweep notices problems which might lead to chimney fires or inefficient burning. Also, he has trained eye for signs of freeze-thaw weathering. If a problem is noticed early, it will be easier and cheaper to fix.
Save money with our service and avoid a long wait by having your chimney inspected and cleaned. Fill out the form below today to get a professional chimney sweep to clean your chimney.