How often should I have my chimney swept?

There is no steadfast rule on the frequency of a chimney cleaning. It can vary from once a month to once every ten years depending on a variety of factors. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that chimneys, fireplaces, and vents be inspected once a year and cleanings, maintenance, and repairs should be done if necessary.

Variables include:

How often you use your fireplace
The type of wood or coal you use
Whether you have a stove or fireplace insert
The location of your chimney in your home
If your chimney is lined
If your chimney has a raincap
If you heat with oil or gas

My fireplace smells smoky even when I’m not burning. What is this caused from?

The smell is caused from creosote deposits in the chimney. The odor is usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high and the AC is on. We usually recommend a sweep but that won’t necessarily solve the issue. The root of the problem is air that’s pulled down the chimney and released in your home. By introducing make up air or installing a top sealing damper may help alleviate the problem. Fireplace deodorants or a cup of white vinegar will help mask the smell until a tech can come to evaluate.

When I build a fire in one fireplace why do I get smoke in the other?
This has become quite a common problem in modern air tight houses. The fireplace in use exhausts household air until a negative pressure situation exists. If the house is fairly tight, the simplest route for makeup air to enter the structure is often the unused fireplace chimney. As air is drawn down this unused flue, it picks up smoke that is exiting nearby from the fireplace in use and delivers the smoke to the living area. The best solution is to provide makeup air to the house so the negative pressure problem no longer exists, thus eliminating not only the smoke problem, but also the potential for carbon monoxide to be drawn back down the furnace chimney. A secondary solution is to install a top sealing damper on the fireplace that is used the least.

Is there a mess?
No, there shouldn’t be a mess. Extreme caution is taken when any service is provided in your home. When a cleaning is done, drop cloths are placed in front of the work area and high-powered vacuums are going for dust control.
How long does it take to…..?
Cleanings take about 20-45 minutes per flue depending on how dirty. Inspections generally don’t take very long but there are a few factors that will influence how much time will be needed. These factors include how many flues you have, the age of the home, the height of the chimney, whether there is an existing clean-out door, ect.

What is Creosote?
Creosote is highly flammable chimney and stovepipe deposits originating as condensed components in smoke (including vapors, tar and soot). Creosote is often initially liquid, but may dry or may change because of heat to a flaky or solid, glazed form.

What does a chimney sweep entail?
First, a visual inspection is done of the chimney system. This is done to determine whether a flue needs to be cleaned and make sure it’s safe to clean. Once this is done, the proper size brush is attached to flexible rods one by one and pushed through the flue. A drop cloth will be will be placed in front of the fireplace and a high powered vacuum running for dust control.

What is a flue? And how do I know how many flues I have?
The flues are the tunnels, or passageways, that are inside the chimney. Each fireplace should have its own flue and possibly the heating system would have a flue. For example if you live in a single family home, have one fireplace, and heat with oil, you most likely have 2 flues.