Frequently Asked Questions
How often should my chimney be cleaned?
All chimneys should be evaluated yearly and cleaned as required. The evaluation is necessary to ensure the chimney has adequate draft, is free of debris and cracks, and has no loose or missing mortar joints. Prefabricated chimneys are always subject to vibration from wind and joints can become misaligned.
Our experience has shown that under “normal burning conditions” it may take about two cords of wood burned in a fireplace to produce enough creosote build-up to warrant cleaning. Gas log fireplace is after about 150 hours of burning. This is only a rule of thumb and under certain conditions the need for sweeping could be much sooner.
When is the best time of the year to have my chimney cleaned?
We clean chimneys all year long, but the best time is at the end of the heating season. You don't have to wait weeks for an appointment, as in the fall, and if repairs are needed they can be completed in the spring and summer. Come that first chilly late summer or early fall evening you're all set to start.
How do you clean a chimney?
A chimney flue is cleaned with special brushes that fit your chimney flue. We clean most chimneys from the outside with the damper door closed, as well as inside the house with a vacuum. This method allows for more control of the dust. The brushes are attached to flexible poles, we add pole after pole to push the brush down the flue. The walls of the fireplace are cleaned by hand using wire brushes.
Does the cleaning remove the black from the wall of the fireplace?
No. we can only clean off the soot on the surface of the brick. Each time you burn a fire this black changes according to how hot you burn your fire. There are products available from your local fireplace store that claim to be able to take off the black.
Does the cleaning cause a mess in my home?
No. The first part of the cleaning is done from the outside with the damper door closed and the fireplace covered with a tarp. All our equipment is laid out on clean drop cloths in front of your fireplace for the inside part of the cleaning. The hose of our vacuum collects the debris as we brush the chimney from the inside. We only brush the chimney as fast as our vacuum collects the dust. The dirtier the chimney flue the slower we brush.
are you looking for when you do an evaluation?
We look for the type of chimney you have, the liner type, if present, the size and condition of your chimney flues and condition of the chimney crown and brickwork, the type fuel you burn, both fireplace and stove, and central heating. We also check for code compliance as to construction, clearances to combustible materials, proper stove or insert installation, and proper furnace and/or water heater connections to the chimney flue. We also check to see if you have a chimney cap installed.
What is a flue?
A flue is the passageway inside your chimney that conveys the gases out of the home and into the atmosphere. A chimney houses one or more flues.
How many flues does my chimney have?
You should have one flue for each fireplace, stove, and furnace or boiler. Some homes also have a separate flue for their water heater. Each flue should be capped to keep animals from entering. Gas furnaces and hot water heaters can be clogged by birds and animals, resulting in carbon monoxide build-up.
What is a damper?
A damper is the door that closes the flue, and keeps heat from escaping when the fireplace is not in use.
Do I need a chimney cap?
All chimneys should have caps to prevent leaves, sticks, debris, rain, snow, and most importantly, animals from entering the chimney flue. Caps also can act as a spark arrestor to prevent fires on the roof or trees in close proximity to the chimney.
Will a cap prevent my flue from venting properly?
A chimney cap is designed by codes for your protection. It must be installed and sized properly to vent correctly. In some cases caps actually help eliminate certain downdrafts and improve venting.
Can you repair my damper?
A damper that has come loose or off its bracket can be reseated. However, if a damper has become brittle and parts have snapped off or rusted, it cannot be repaired. It must be replaced. A replacement damper is installed on top of the chimney flue and is connected by a cable to an adjustable bracket secured to the wall of the fireplace. This type of damper is air tight thus it effectively prevents heat and air conditioning loss when closed.
fireplace smokes, does this mean it needs to be cleaned?
Perhaps. Please see our page regarding problem solving, or call for an inspection.
Do you install wood stoves and fireplace inserts?
Yes we do. Please call for an estimate.
How are animals removed from the chimney?
A screen should be installed immediately so the animals cannot return.