The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) says that fireplaces need to be cleaned when there is 1/8″ of sooty buildup inside the chimney or flue system. Since homeowners may not be able to judge the condition of the system, it is advised that a professional Chimney Inspection be done by a CSIA Chimney Sweep. This will determine whether a chimney cleaning is needed. When any glaze is appearing in the flue, cleaning should be done immediately. This glazing is a dangerous state that is susceptible to combustion. When an accumulation of soot and creosote occurs it can fuel a chimney fire that will likely damage the chimney. Many chimney fires that start this way can spread to the roof and home. Furnace flue systems also require cleaning, so it is a good idea to inspect and clean those venting systems at the same time your chimney, stove or fireplace is done.
This question also depends a lot on how often you use your fireplace or stove. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA ) says, “Fireplaces, Chimneys, Flues and Venting Systems need to be inspected at least once a year for freedom from deposits, soundness and correct clearances. Maintenance, Repairs and Cleaning shall be done if necessary.” Even if you don’t use your chimney often – raccoons, birds, squirrels and other animals may be using your chimney for a nesting area. This will make the fireplace unsafe to use without clearing out the accumulated debris from pests. Wind, rain and snow also blow leaves and branches into unprotected chimney openings.
During the cleaning most soot and creosote will be removed from the smoke chamber, chimney liner, damper area and firebox. Heavy use fireplaces can produce up to 2 full 5 gallon buckets of material! To continue safer use of the fireplace and reduce risk of chimney fires this highly combustible material must be removed before it builds up to unsafe levels.
What Time of Year Should I Clean my Chimney?
Before you start thinking about building a fire or cranking up the furnace, it is a good idea to schedule your cleaning or inspection. Before the burning and heating season begins in summer or early fall is a perfect time to schedule this work. If you have already started using the system, don’t worry we do this type of work year round. Don’t wait until the next year, skipping a year can be a bad move. If you recently bought a home an inspection should be done as soon as possible. If you would like more information give us a call at 860-659-0937.
Do I Really Need to Get my Chimney Cleaned?
Removing soot, blockages and creosote form your system is important to a safer operation of your systems during the heating season. Protecting your family’s safety and your home against damage are the real benefits of having a chimney inspection and proper cleaning. It only takes a small amount of creosote glazing and a spark to create the potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is the substance that builds up inside of your chimney liner as a result of wood burning. This highly flammable substance builds up faster if you do not have good burning practices or have an appliance or system that is not working properly. Pine should be avoided as a staple for wood burning as it produces rapid creosote accumulation. This build-up will also effect the performance of the system by reducing draw and reducing heating efficiency.
Why Should I Have a Chimney Inspection?
If it has been over a year since your last inspection, it is time to schedule one. If you have any issues with performance of your heating system, chimney or fireplace, schedule an inspection. If you have recently purchased the home, you need to have an inspection. Don’t just rely on what the previous owners say about the last cleaning and inspection. If you have recently changed or upgraded your heating system, stove or fireplace insert, please get the inspection. The inspection will make sure the chimney, lining and venting systems are adequate and in working order to handle the changes.
Waiting in any of these situations almost always results in added repairs and increased cost. Unfortunately, sometimes even in property loss or injury. In the US, homeowners lose more than 200 million dollars every year due to unsafe chimneys, flues, fireplaces, stoves and venting systems.
Many homeowners assume that since they don’t use their system much, they don’t need to get an inspection. Problem is that pests may have built nests clogging your flue, lining or chimney smoke chamber. Freeze and thaw cycles combined with moisture also take a toll on your chimney and liner even if you don’t use it. Normal wear and tear is just a fact of life for chimney systems. Defects that are detected during annual inspections and fixed are always the best choice. The longer the problems go unfound, the more costly repairs are likely to be. Staying up on your fireplace, stove and furnace and venting systems maintenance is the safest, smartest and most cost-effective way to go.
Schedule Your Chimney System and Furnace Flue Inspections Once a Year.
Annual Chimney Inspections are recommended to be sure that all components are in working order. As a rule many homeowners have a cleaning once a year at the same time. When we inspect a chimney, if it doesn’t need a cleaning we will advice the customer that they are ok until next inspection. Remember, other venting systems that connected to furnaces and stoves also need to be cleaned and inspected on a regular basis too. These inspections and cleanings are important to your home and family’s safety and certainly not an area to cut corners or neglect the maintenance called for. Don’t risk the chance of a costly repair resulting from lack of maintenance or worse yet – a chimney fire.
To be sure that all of your systems are in working order and operating as they should, it is recommended that homeowners get an annual chimney inspection. Most homeowners opt to have a Chimney Cleaning done every year as well, especially if they use their fireplace on a regular basis. Other venting systems connected to furnaces and stoves should also be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain safer operation. Fireplace, stove, furnace and heating appliance systems are important to your home and families safety and not an area to neglect or cut corners on. Don’t risk the chance that an undiscovered defect could turn into an expensive repair or worse yet – a chimney fire.
Most Chimney Sweep companies will put their regular customers on an annual inspection schedule, so you will not need to remember the last date of inspection. They will just call you once a year, inspect the systems and advise you when it is time to sweep.
Nayaug Chimney Services / 860-659-0937