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2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Blog

Signs That It’s Time to Schedule Chimney Cleaning


There’s no season of the year that’s “best” for chimney cleaning—you can have it done at any time. However, you’ll find it easier to schedule during the warmer months when n you won’t miss the crackling warmth or coziness. 

A much tougher question than “What season should I have my chimney cleaned?” is “When do I need my chimney cleaned?” We recommend a regular schedule for chimney cleaning, but you may find yourself in a situation where the chimney needs it as soon as possible. We’re the experts when it comes to chimney cleaning in Saint Paul, MN, and we’d like to guide you through the major signs to watch for that will tell you it’s time to call us to arrange for this important service. 

Excessive Smoke or Odors

One of the most apparent signs that your chimney requires cleaning is that when you light a fire, there’s excessive smoke or unpleasant odors. If you notice an increase in smoke inside your home or detect an acrid smell that lingers, it’s a big warning that there may be creosote buildup or other debris in the chimney. These substances obstruct the flue and block proper ventilation, which will cause smoke to enter your home and leave behind unpleasant odors.

Difficulty Lighting a Fire

A well-functioning chimney should provide adequate draft so smoke and gases are easily pushed out of the house. If you experience difficulty in getting a fire started, it could be because of a blocked or partially blocked chimney. Culprits include accumulated soot, creosote, debris from birds’ nests, and leaves. Restricted airflow prevents the fireplace from drawing in oxygen and makes it harder for the fireplace to do what it’s supposed to. 

Soot Buildup in the Fireplace

Take some time to do a visual inspection of the inside of your fireplace. Examine the walls of the firebox and the damper. If you notice a thick layer of soot or creosote deposits, it’s a sign that the chimney is due for cleaning. Soot buildup not only restricts airflow but can also increase the risk of a chimney fire. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, the accumulation of soot can still occur because of condensation and other factors.


Chimneys offer an alluring, protected nesting spot for birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals—especially in Minnesota. If you hear scratching sounds or notice animal droppings around your fireplace, it’s a sign that wildlife has moved into your chimney rent-free. Not only can these animals cause blockages, but their nests are flammable, posing a fire hazard. Chimney cleaning will not only remove the obstructions but also keep animals from trying to return in the future.

Debris on the Roof or Ground

During a routine visual inspection of your property, keep an eye out for any debris around the chimney. If you find pieces of mortar or chimney liner on the ground, it could be an indication of deteriorating chimney parts. Additionally, if you see bits of a black, powdery substance on your roof, it might be a sign of a chimney leak or poor chimney drafting, both of which require immediate attention.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. serves Minneapolis, St. Paul and the Surrounding Communities. Schedule your chimney cleaning appointment with us today.

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