When wood is burned, not all the smoke escapes from the chimney. Some will cool down and become solid, producing creosote. Sweeping the chimney removes this flammable creosote residue. Further, creosote is corrosive to the flue tiles in the chimney and can cause unpleasant odors in your home. Ideally, the chimney should be swept in the spring time just after the winter burn season is over.
Another important reason to have your chimney swept is chimney fires. A truly scary aspect of chimney fires is that they often occur without the homeowner's knowledge. Chimney fires tend to happen most often within a short time of adding wood to a burning fire or upon lighting a new fire. Often people heating with wood are adding fuel to the fire before going to bed or leaving for work and are unaware that the chimney has caught fire.
All chimneys need to be inspected yearly and cleaned when needed. Oil soot is less flammable than wood residues but can cause blockages that allow carbon monoxide and other fumes to back up into the living space of your home. Gas appliances can also cause soot but are more prone to cause damage due to moisture condensation that can cause rapid chimney deterioration. Improperly sized gas flues are a leading cause of severe damages to chimneys and walls which also can allow deadly fumes to enter your home. Leaves, birds, animals and other intruders can also cause blockages that can inhibit proper draft.
As chimney sweep professionals, we also check other components of your home's heating system. We look for visible damage, structural design problems, signs of deterioration and check proper clearances for the appliance and venting system. We advise you on fire safety, proper maintenance and habit of use to help make sure your chimney serves its function to keep your home warm and safe. When repairs, renovation or upgrades are needed, we're prepared to provide most any type of chimney related services you could need.
When looking for a chimney sweep, there are important questions to remember. Ask for their qualifications: Are they certified by F.I.R.E. Service and/or the National Fireplace Institute (N.F.I.)?
While many fine companies and chimney sweep technicians may not have either credential, having them shows their knowledge has been recently tested and that they met the training standards for accreditation.