Tips & Advice
Are there any chimney maintenance activities homeowners can do?
As part of regular home maintenance, you can look for signs up build-up or debris accumulating in a fireplace. n addition to practicing safe wood burning and cleaning the in-home structure, you can also use a flashlight on occasion to inspect for any obvious cracks or blockage. Strong smells emanating from the fireplace when not in use may be an indication of the need to consult with a professional who can handle the broader inspection and any major issues that arise from it.
Is it dangerous not to have a chimney swept?
It can be dangerous not to have your chimney inspected from the interior, since only a licensed professional can detect things like creosote build-up or a defective damper. Failing to address such issues can, at the very least, reduce the efficiency of airflow within your home, and at worst, lead to a fire.
Most inspectors are called chimney cleaning professionals these days, but the term chimney sweep traditionally refers to the person who evaluates the flue, damper and roof, and then cleans them from the inside. A certified chimney sweep will also inspect your fireplace and the room in which it operates, checking for any structural inefficiencies or signs of leakage. When looking to hire a chimney cleaner, it’s best to seek one who is certified by the CSIA or NCSG.
A chimney flue is essentially a duct that runs from the fireplace to the top of the chimney, helping convey the gas and heat out of the home. It must be properly sealed in order to protect the home and withstand the exhaust that passes through.
What is a chimney damper?
The damper is the device that seals the chimney shut when it is not in use. It usually operates as a small flap inside the flue, helping retain warm air and insulate the home, even when there is no fire going.
How often should a chimney be inspected?
Inspections should theoretically occur in conjunction with cleanings at least once a year to guard against blockage and ensure vents and clearances are sound. An additional inspection may be necessary if the home is put on the market for sale or undergoing any major renovations.
Do all chimneys need to be cleaned?
All chimneys should be cleaned occasionally, even if they’re not frequently used. The inspection that comes with the cleaning serves to confirm that the structure is secure and free of any build-up or other inefficiencies, which may not be apparent from inside the house.
How much does it cost to have a chimney cleaned?
A standard sweep and inspection conducted by a certified professional will usually cost $125-$175. That assumes, however, that the inspection and cleaning are relatively routine. If you have a build-up of things like dead animals or creosote it can cost significantly more. As with most home professional services, it’s wise to get multiple estimates before deciding on a provider.
How often should a chimney be cleaned?
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, you should have your chimney cleaned at least once a year. That guideline can be loosened somewhat depending the age and type of home you live in and how often you use your fireplace. However, even if your chimney is used only a couple of times per year, it’s prudent to have it not only cleaned to remove buildup, but also inspected for structural soundness.
How long does it take to clean a chimney?
Depending on the size of your home, the duration will vary by 10-15 minutes. But a thorough cleaning should involve the inspector going on the roof, checking the mortar and flashing, and scrubbing the chimney from the top down. On average, this process takes about 45 minutes, and a thorough job should last no fewer than 30 minutes.