Q & A 2017-11-21T16:32:27+00:00

Commonly Asked Chimney Questions

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in one year, 5,500 fires were attributed to chimneys. As a result of these fires, 130 people died, 230 people were injured, and total property loss was set at more than $184.4 million. In addition, there were a minimum of 119 deaths from carbon monoxide and at least 4,700 injuries were reported for the same time frame, though most estimates range much higher.

The root cause of most of these losses is that most U.S. homeowners are unaware that chimneys are an integral part of a home-heating system, and they require regular evaluation and maintenance. Most homeowners in this area have little working knowledge of chimney and venting systems. The fact that faults, damage, and problems are rarely visible to the casual observer complicates the situation. The threat of chimney fires and unsafe indoor air quality can be greatly reduced, perhaps even eliminated, if homeowners only understood that chimneys require regular maintenance.

The primary job of a chimney-service professional is to monitor your chimney, clean and maintain your chimney, and to prescribe changes to improve its performance and safety.

The Chimney Sweep serviceman will check the condition of your firebox, damper, and flue to determine typical problems such as built up creosote, mortar deterioration, obstructions inside the flue, and malfunctioning damper parts. He will alert you to any problems that he finds and provide you with a written estimate for any needed repairs. You are under no obligation to contract us to do such repairs. However, it may not be safe to continue using your fireplace until those problems are addressed.

We recommend that you have your chimney cleaned about every two or three years, or about every cord of wood burned. If you notice an odor or if your fireplace is not drafting properly, call us to inspect it before continuing to use it.

Creosote or “soot” is caused by simply burning materials, such as wood, in your fireplace. There is no way to prevent the build up of creosote. Now you are probably asking, “What is creosote?” It is basically unburned fuel that gathers in the form of black powder, flakes, or a baked-on glaze, depending on the degree of buildup. This is one of the main causes of chimney fires. When there is an excess buildup of creosote in the chimney and temperatures rise, the soot is ignited and an actual fire is started inside your chimney, showering your roof with sparks.

Smoke problems may be caused by:

  • A dirty flue / chimney preventing draft
  • A bigger or smaller flue than needed
  • Improper air pressure in the house
  • Wind direction
  • Obstruction in flue
  • Damper not opening properly

Sometimes, more than one thing can contribute to a smoking problem.

A spark arrestor is a metal screen that catches sparks and hot embers that may escape your chimney if not in place. Today, spark arrestors are commonly built into chimney caps, which our company can provide and install for you.

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Does your chimney need maintenance? Would you like to redesign your mantle? Call today and set up an appointment for cleaning, inspection, and more.

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