- There isn't a simple rule of thumb on how often to clean your chimney, such as cleaning after 50 uses or one year. The problem is, creosote can form when wood is burned incompletely. A smoky fire without enough oxygen emits lots of un-burned tar vapors that can condense inside the fireplace flue and stick to it, possibly leading to a chimney fire. You can reduce creosote buildup in your fireplace flue by providing adequate combustion air, which will encourage a hot, clean-burning fire. familyhandyman.com
How long does it take to sweep a chimney?
- Every flue is different, but on average a thorough cleaning should take about 45 minutes to an hour. If you're having a chimney professional come to clean your fireplace flue, it's probably a good idea to have him or her take a look at your furnace/water heater flues as well.
Prepare for sweeping
Be sure 24 hours have passed from your last use.
Remove all items from the mantel piece and hearth.
Remove any un-burnt fuel.
What is a Chimney Sweep
- A chimney sweep is a person who clears ash and soot from chimneys. The chimney uses the pressure difference caused by a hot column of gas to create a draught and draw air over the hot coals or wood enabling continued combustion. Chimneys may be straight or contain many changes of direction. During normal operation, a layer of creosote builds up on the inside of the chimney, restricting the flow. The creosote can also catch fire, setting the chimney and the building alight. The chimney must be swept to remove the soot. This was done by the master sweep.
Chimney Inspections - Level 1, 2, or 3
When Do I Need A Chimney Inspection?
- 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.
Three Levels of Chimney Inspections
Level 1 Chimney Inspection is the very minimum requirement for any appliance or venting system, and is the most common inspection. If you plan to use your appliance or venting system (chimney) the way you always have and under the some conditions, a Level 1 inspection will be sufficient. With a Level 1 inspection, you'll receive an inspection of all the readily available portions of the interior and exterior of your chimney or venting system. A technician will ensure basic soundness of the structure and flue, along with basic appliance connections. The technician also will ensure the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits. If not, a cleaning will be in order to ensure continued safe usage.
Level 2 chimney inspection is a bit more complex and is required when:
Buying or selling a home or business with a fireplace
The chimney survived weather damage or a fire
You want to use the chimney for extended periods
A Level 2 Chimney Inspection conducted by a Chimney Sweep is a little more detailed than a Level 1. A visual inspection of the inside parts of the fireplace and chimney is required.
Level 3 Chimney Inspection is usually required when the construction of the chimney is necessary for the continued or renewed use of the chimney due to potentially unseen defects. The Level 3 inspection could include opening or removing an interior wall to access hidden parts of the chimney. This level of inspection normally occurs when a more serious problem has been identified and a method of repair needs to be determined.
Chimney Scanning - Video/Inspection
- Using Chimney Video Scanning equipment is the only way to detect the location of a problem when a visual inspection doesn't pinpoint the exact location.
- Even though a chimney cap is a minor and relatively inexpensive installation many homeowners question whether it is necessary or not. The truth is that this small amount of metal protecting your chimney can save a homeowner thousands of dollars in unnecessary chimney repair or damage expenses. A chimney cap will prevent animals from entering your home, keep the moisture out, and protect the roof from burning embers starting a house fire. Unwanted animals nesting, sparks and embers escaping and moisture getting in and damaging your chimney are the main reasons to have an adequate chimney cap. A properly installed chimney cap is a must.
- In an unprotected fireplace, heat is absorbed into the back wall of the fireplace, which causes the bricks to crack and the mortar that holds the chimney together to break down, leading to repairs. A fireplace with a "HEAT REFLECTOR / SHIELD" protecting it. The back wall of the fireplace is now exposed to 1/3 less heat. The heat is radiated into the room where it should be, and damage to the fireplace is significantly reduced or stopped!