There may not be a standard time-frame applicable across chimneys concerning when and how often these need sweeping, but the fact of the matter is that it does need to be done in a timely fashion. Not doing so could result in a house fire. Besides, the heating will not be to your satisfaction. A timely chimney sweep saves loads of trouble and expenses later on. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine!

When do you know that it is time for a chimney sweep?

One might imagine that one could have some ground rules about determining that it is time for a chimney sweep regarding the number of times a chimney has been used, but things don’t really pan out like that and the reason for that is creosote. Now there is no telling when it will form as it occurs on account of improper burning of wood.

Chimney Fires

If the oxygen supply inside the flue is inadequate, it could lead to a fire which emits a lot of smoke, causing unburned tar vapors to get deposited inside the fireplace flue. This is a dangerous situation as the chimney now becomes susceptible to catching fire. Ensuring an adequate supply of oxygen will allow for cleaner combustion and can forestall such an event.

Scratching the black surface above the damper with a fireplace poker (wearing protective goggles and a dust mask) will give you a fair idea about creosote buildup. If you can create ⅛ of an inch groove, you should schedule a chimney sweeping. In case the groove is as much as ¼ of an inch, it would be dangerous to use the chimney again until you get it cleaned.

Signs That Tell You That It’s Time for a Chimney Sweep

  • The fire takes an inordinately long time to start and when it does, it doesn’t burn too well.
  • The fire gives out a lot of smoke that sometimes even wafts into the room and the rest of the house.
  • A bad odor spreads in the house when the chimney in not use that sometimes smells like burnt wood.
  • The sounds of a bird or an animal inside the walls.
  • Winter is around the corner and you still haven’t had your annual inspection yet.
  • Your fireplace is old and appears to be crumbling.
  • You hardly ever use your fireplace.
  • Soot dropping into the fireplace.
  • You notice cracks in the structure, as well as the buildup of mould.

The presence of some or all of the above signs is, sure enough, an indicator that it is time that you get a professional chimney sweep. You may want to take the onus for that upon yourself, but considering the safety issues involved, it makes eminent sense to hire the services of a professional chimney sweep like Sootmaster.

Professional Chimney Sweeps

Being professionals, you can be sure that they will do a thorough job of removing the creosote and not leave anything to chance. It will also save you many hours of your time as well as the hassle of having to do it yourself. It is also a lot safer since you won’t have to climb up to the top of the roof yourself to access the chimney for cleaning.

A professional chimney sweep will also take care of the cleaning after the job is done. There is nothing that you are leaving to chance when you hire a professional sweep. Everything from the tools they use and the manner in which they carry out a chimney sweep is primed to doing a good job.

If you undertake it yourself, you may have to do the sweeping again shortly, on account of not doing a precise job. Sure, you may have to pay for the service, but ultimately it will be cheaper regarding time saved and a job well done. All you need to do is to look forward to a nice and cozy winter.

To learn more about chimney sweeps and how long it takes to get these done, make an appointment below today!

chimney cap

Caps, Covers, & Damper Repairs

Living in the south, mainly along the Gulf Coast, then you know there are lost of rain storms. Actually, we get more rain than anywhere else in the country, including Seattle. The ranking of the most amount of rainfall goes as follows: Mobile, Pensacola, and Seattle in 41st.

This region has such a big deal about rain when it comes to chimneys and fireplaces. As the Chimney Safety Institute of America explains, “water, not fire, causes most chimney damage.”

“Whether masonry or factory-built,” says the CSIA, “prolonged water exposure can result in cracks or gaps in chimneys where creosote can collect and increase the risk of fire or where noxious gases can escape into your home and expose your family to carbon monoxide.”

Fireplaces, Chimneys and Leaks

In basic terms the problem with fireplace and chimney leakage is that water combines with the creosote that remains from fires to form an acidic mixture. Over time that mixture can eat out the silica in the mortar joints.
Once the joints are no longer secure, moisture — remember all that Gulf Coast rain — can get into the house through the chimney. For example, if water comes in through the chimney and is released under the shingles it can lead to the need for a roof replacement.

Also, without proper sealing, heat from fires can travel into areas which should not be exposed to heat, dry out wood, and in some cases actually cause the wood to catch on fire.

In fact, according to a staff report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about 22,000 fires a year which are associated with fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors. Such fires can cause substantial damage and in some cases may lead to fatalities.

Also, without caps it does happen that birds and animals get into fireplaces. Sometimes nests are built and in some cases animals unable to get out die inside chimneys and fireplaces. Noises and odors can result from such problems.

Caps, Covers and Dampers

You can protect your household with caps, covers and dampers. Caps with spark arresters are devices that go over the flue. They keep out both moisture and animals, plus they help prevent sparks from leaving the chimney. Covers are at the top of the chimney, go around the flue, and protect against moisture. Dampers are inside the chimney itself. They can help create a proper draft to achieve the best fire, plus when closed they prevent animals from getting into the house.

Cap, Cover and Damper Services

We can install, repair and maintain caps, covers and dampers. We inspect such devices as part of our basic chimney sweep services. We have many devices in stock and can recommend the equipment which is right for your fireplace and chimney, whether it is masonry or metal, new or historic.

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