What is the Best Time to Clean my Chimney?
Ideally, late summer or early fall is a great time to get your chimney inspection and / or chimney cleaning. Before you think about building a fire or starting up your furnace because of cooler weather, you should call a chimney sweep.
How Often Should I get my Chimney Cleaned?
This depends a lot on how much you use your fireplace. If you don’t use your chimney a whole lot – birds, squirrels, raccoons and other critters may have been using your chimney making it unsafe to use without clearing out the accumulated debris from nesting activity.
Heavy use of a fireplace will produce an incredible amount of soot and creosote. Removing this material is critical to continued safe use of the fireplace and reduced risk of chimney fires caused when this highly combustible material builds up to unsafe levels. A chimney fire can damage the chimney and quickly spread to the roof and home. Furnace flue systems also require cleaning, so don’t neglect regular cleaning of those venting systems.
The National Fire Protection Association says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”
The CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) says that fireplaces should be cleaned when 1/8″ of sooty buildup is evident inside the chimney and flue system. If any glaze is appearing in the flue, cleaning should be done even if there is less than 1/8″ of build up. Any time an appreciable accumulation of soot and creosote occurs it can be enough to fuel
When Do I Need A Chimney Inspection?
If you haven’t had your chimney inspected in a year or more, if you are having any performance issues with your chimney, fireplace or heating system or if you have recently purchased the home you should schedule an inspection. Normal wear and tear that is left unchecked will affect the performance of your system. The longer the defects go without being addressed, the more expensive the repairs are likely to be.
Another important time to get your venting systems inspected is when you have upgraded or changed heating systems or added a stove or insert. An inspection will make sure that your chimney, lining and venting systems are adequate and in working order to handle the new changes.