Chimney Cleaning FAQs
A chimney is a great addition to any home, but to get the most out of them and ensure safe operation, it’s important that every chimney be occasionally cared for by a professional. Most homeowners actually know very little about proper chimney care. The following are among the most common questions homeowners have about chimney cleaning.
How often should I have my chimney cleaned?
The general consensus among fire safety experts is that chimneys and fireplaces should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year. Even if you don’t use the chimney in your home that often, animals can build nests inside chimneys and prevent proper ventilation. There could be other hidden safety concerns, such as a damaged lining or flue. A chimney cleaning expert can provide comprehensive chimney inspections that include a thorough cleaning and repair services if necessary.
Should I have my chimney cleaned if I have gas logs or a furnace?
Even if you don’t use wood or pellet stoves, you should have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly. The chimney serves as part of the ventilation system for any heating system, so it is important to check for animal nests or debris blocking the airflow and to check the lining. If you have upgraded your furnace, it may not be compatible with an older flue or lining. Some new furnaces can cause problems in homes that have chimneys designed to vent other types of heating systems. Be sure to speak with one a certified chimney expert if you have any questions or concerns.
Why is there a strong odor in my fireplace when it’s not in use?
Creosote is usually the cause of strong odors in a wood–burning fireplace, particularly in the summer when there’s more humidity in the air. Creosote deposits are a natural byproduct of burning wood, and a routine professional cleaning will solve the problem. However, if creosote continues to collect in your chimney, you could have a problem with the overall pressure in your home. This can be resolved with a few ventilation techniques, but you should have a professional chimney sweep assess the problem and give you recommendations.
When is it necessary to use a video camera to inspect my chimney?
Video scans are necessary during a Level 2 inspection, or when a certified chimney technician needs to check the flue because of any warning signs or obvious safety hazard. The accessible parts of the chimney that are examined during an annual cleaning are only part of a full inspection. Video inspections provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the condition of the chimney components and fireplace.
What is the difference between a Level 1, 2, & 3 inspection?
A Level 1 inspection is the most basic evaluation of the chimney; they are also referred to as a “preliminary inspection.” A chimney cleaning service should always include this basic type of inspection, in which all the accessible components are visibly checked to make sure there are no apparent structural or mechanical problems. After the technician sweeps the chimney, any blockages should be removed, and it will be easier to see if there are other issues affecting ventilation or creating fire hazards.
Level 2 inspections are a little more involved, and they use camera scans to check the parts that are not visible in a Level 1 inspection. If you are purchasing a home with a chimney, or if you are upgrading your chimney or fireplace parts, a Level 2 chimney inspection is typically required. Any time you’ve had a chimney fire or other damages, you should hire a certified chimney technician to perform a Level 2 inspection to make sure the chimney is safe to use. Level 3 chimney inspections are required whenever there’s a major structural hazard detected in a Level 1 or a 2 inspection. Level 3 chimney inspections may require the removal of certain portions of the chimney and advanced equipment to further investigate and resolve the issue.