How often should my chimney be cleaned?
All chimneys should be inspected yearly by a certified professional and cleaned as required. The inspection is necessary to ensure that the chimney has adequate draft, is free of debris and cracks, has no loose or missing mortar joints and is otherwise free of damage.
What are you looking for when you do a chimney evaluation?
We do a thorough exterior and interior inspection of the flue and chimney. We look at the type of chimney you have, we inspect the liner type, if present, the size of your chimney flue. When cleaning your heating system flues, we will evaluated the interior flue for any deterioration, make sure that your heating appliances are properly sized for the chimney that they are venting into. Check for condensation/moisture and any damage that can be caused from moisture. We will also let you know the condition of your chimney and whether or not a chimney cap is present, and also check your flashing for ware.
How do you Sweep a chimney?
A chimney flue is cleaned with special brushes that fit your chimney flue. The brushes are attached to flexible poles, we add poles as needed to push the brush up into the flue. We can only do this as fast as our special chimney vacuum collects the debris. The walls of the fireplace are cleaned by hand using wire brushes.
What causes chimney fires?
Chimney fires are usually caused by the accumulation of creosote in the chimney. Creosote is a natural by-product of burning wood. It accumulates in the flue over time and is highly flammable. Creosote is especially likely to accumulate when wood is not burned at the proper temperature. Since creosote is flammable, when it accumulates on the walls of your flue, hot flue gasses can ignite it. The result is a chimney fire. Depending on the condition of your chimney, such a fire can pose a significant threat to the rest of your house. Flames from the fire can find their way through cracks in your clay chimney liner or mortar and ignite framing around the chimney. They can also spill over onto the roof and cause a fire there.
What is the most efficient way to use my fireplace or stove?
The key is to burn small, hot fires, using hardwood - that will minimize creosote accumulation and maximize heat output. Keep fires burning hot with flames, not smoldering with a lot of smoke. Be careful not to add too much firewood. In a fireplace, keep the top of the flames visible below the fireplace opening. In a wood stove, keep the flames confined to the wood stove itself. With glass doors, keep the doors wide open with the screen closed for a good half hour after starting the fire. When you see the fire is burning well, close the doors and set any draft controls. It's better to add smaller loads more often than to cram in a lot of wood trying to get an all-day burn. When you're ready to put out a fire, separate the logs by moving them to the side of the fireplace or stand them on end in the back of the fireplace. Close the screen or glass doors tightly, but don't close the damper until you're sure the fire and coals are completely out.