Why should I have my chimney swept ?
Some of the reasons are:
• To ensure that the appliance vents properly to the outdoors.
• To prevent chimney fires.
• To reduce or eliminate chimney odors.
• To remove blockages that could cause carbon monoxide gases to enter the home.
• To prevent deterioration of the chimney interior caused by acid in the deposits.
Having your chimney sweep and inspected regularly doesn’t just improve the air quality in your home, its also crucial for the prevention of hazards that can arise from buildup obstructions or cracks.
A heating company give service to my furnace and/or hot water heater every year.
Doesn’t this mean my chimney is safe ?
Not necessarily. A heating guy inspection usually end at the beginning of the thimble (Chimney base). Problems inside the flue can remain undetected and subject you and your family to the risk of carbon monoxide poison. Any chimney that vents the exhaust of a natural gas burning appliance needs to be open at all times. This includes your Furnace, water heater, fire logs, etc. Never assume that your chimney is safe.
How is a chimney sweep performed?
The work area will be cover with drop cloths.
In standard masonry chimney fireplaces the damper plate will be removed or opened for better access to the smoke chamber.
Factory built fireplaces typically do not contain a smoke shelf , the damper is at the top of the firebox and the damper plate is not removable.
Factory built models can also be inspected for cracks on the backside and floor refractory side panels.
The smoke chamber, which is the area between the firebox and the flue, will be swept as well and debris will be removed from the smoke shelf.
After all this process the technician will explain to you any concerns noted during the process and provide a evaluation of the chimney’s status.
Removing chimney deposits is the main job of a chimney sweep and evaluate the overall condition of the venting system.
Chimney Deposits: (Chimney deposits can be found in a variety of forms)
Soot – Soot is primarily composed of carbon particles but may also contain ash. The flammability of soot will depend of the concentration of soot and ash. Soot, since it is made of carbon, is combustible. Ash is Noncombustible.
Creosote – Creosote can be defined as a combustible deposit in the venting system which begins as condensed wood smoke including tar fogs and vapors. Creosote is a by-product of incomplete combustion. Creosote will be hard brown or black and form either curly, flaky deposits or even bubbly in the venting system. Creosote is potentially flammable.
Glaze – Glaze is shiny, tarry substance. Glaze can form puddles or drop down and make formations that resemble black icicles. Glaze is the most denze type of wood burning deposit, represents the greatest amount of fuel to burn in the event of a chimney fire. Glaze is also the most difficult type of deposit to remove from the chimney.
The National Fire Protection Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that chimneys be inspected annually and cleaned as needed. This is a good guideline and if followed, would eliminate most chimney fires and other chimney fires.
There are other times when a chimney inspection should be performed:
• Immediately after a chimney or furnace fire.
• When ever the service of the chimney is being changed. Adding a woodstove to a fireplace, or converting from an oil to a gas furnace, or installing gas logs.
• When ever you are considering the purchase of a home with a chimney. Make sure the chimney inspection is performed before closing
• When ever you suspect any type of storm damage.Example lighting struck chimney, or high winds blow the cap off.