Is Chimney Cleaning Always Necessary?
This is a question a lot of homeowners wonder about. They have a fireplace and chimney, but for certain reasons, they feel that maybe regular chimney cleaning isn’t needed. In some cases, it’s not. In other cases, it is. Let’s look at the cases.
You have a gas factory-built fireplace
Your pre-built or zero-clearance gas fireplace has its own vent pipe, which doesn’t need a lot of cleaning as a result of residue caused by using the unit. But depending on how your pipe is set up, outside debris could be getting into it and causing drafting problems, which need to be stopped.
You have a gas fireplace insert
As with factory-built gas fireplaces, gas inserts burn very cleanly. They use their own vent system that runs up the existing chimney and require about the same maintenance as factory-built fireplaces. Adding a custom, full-width chimney cap will help prevent debris from trees and animals getting into the insert’s venting.
You have a wood-burning masonry fireplace, fireplace insert or pre-built fireplace
If you use any of these wood-burning appliances, regular cleaning is strongly recommended by every fire-safety and hearth organization in the United States.
Smoke from burning wood causes a substance known as creosote to form within your chimney flue. Creosote can be puffy, flakey or solid and is always flammable. The more wood you burn, the more creosote that will be added to your flue.
Creosote is responsible for most of the 25,000 chimney fires in the U.S. each year, causing property damage upwards of $125 million. This is why it’s a smart move to schedule annual cleanings with a CSIA-certified chimney sweep.
What you need to know about chimney fires
Not all chimney fires are full-on, blazing events. Many are of short duration and not even noticed by people in the house. Although brief, these fires can start a cycle of damage to your chimney liner and subsequently the interior chimney masonry.
While some chimney fires are “minor,” they may give signals, such as:
- An odd clicking or tapping sound coming from the fireplace/chimney
- Large amounts of dense, dark smoke coming from either end of the chimney
- A rumbling sound similar to a distant train
Should you notice any of these signs, immediately call 911 and put out the fire in the firebox, if you can do so safely.
The work of a professional chimney sweep
Professional chimney sweeps who are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) have specialized tools and extensive training to safely remove all the built-up creosote and soot from your chimney.
Chimney sweeps also can remove outside debris, as noted earlier, which can impede drafting of any kind of fireplace and cause smoke and/or deadly carbon monoxide to back up
into your home.
Additionally, chimney sweeps usually are qualified to perform thorough chimney inspections and inspections of gas and wood fireplaces and fireplace inserts. No matter what kind of supplemental heating appliance you use, an annual inspection and safety check is a wise move.
Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, GA, provides the greater Atlanta area with certified chimney sweeping, fireplace and chimney inspections and a full menu of chimney repairs and rebuilding work. We’re available year-round to keep your system in top shape and performing optimally. Speak with an expert today at (770) 255-1300.