How Often Do Chimneys Need to Be Cleaned?

The crackle of a warm fire in the fireplace in late fall or on rainy winter days lends to the perfect ambiance at home. But with every fire lit in the fireplace, soot and creosote build up on the inside walls of the chimney as well as the firebox and damper. This can lead to a number of safety and venting issues. For this reason, it is very important to have regular chimney inspections and invest in chimney cleaning in Dallas every year.

Chimney Cleaning

In a few hours, you can have your chimney professionally cleaned by a chimney sweep in Dallas. A chimney sweep has the expertise to properly clean your chimney from top to bottom and provide a safer, cleaner home fire experience. Chimney sweeps have the right tools to scrape away and collect the soot and creosote. Creosote is a dark oily substance that attaches to the inside walls of a chimney when certain wood is burned in your fireplace.

For example, burning pine creates lots of creosote buildup. For this reason, you should avoid burning pine and opt to burn hard words. Creosote coats the inside of the chimney with a glaze material, which could ignite and cause a chimney fire. Any time an appreciable accumulation of soot and creosote occurs, it can be enough to fuel a chimney fire that may damage the chimney and even spread to the roof and home.

Soot Greater than 1/8 Inch

The rule of thumb is that fireplaces should be cleaned if soot buildup is greater than 1/8 inch. You can determine this yourself by opening the damper and reaching up inside your chimney. With a flashlight, you can look up and remove soot in a few places to determine the thickness of the buildup. Depending on the damper and chimney configuration, you may also be able to spot glaze buildup as well. Both soot and creosote can lead to blockages, which could lead to a backdraft effect. Basically, there is not enough space in the chimney for the smoke to escape, and some of the smoke will spill into the house.

Annual Chimney Inspections

If you use your fireplace regularly from fall through winter, it is recommended that you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year. If you occasionally use your fireplace, you should definitely have your chimney cleaned and inspected every other year. If it’s been a while since you had your chimney cleaned and inspected, you should call a chimney sweep company before you light a fire to be on the safe side of things. The chimney sweep can give you an overall assessment of your fireplace and chimney and recommend a regular cleaning schedule based on how often you light fires.

Other Chimney Issues

If you have moved into a new house, or haven’t used your fireplace in a long time, you should call in a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your fireplace before lighting a fire. When fall turns cold, animals look for tight spaces to get relief from the cold. Also, when an animal has been injured, they look for a place of refuge. The last thing you want to do is light a fire with a live or dead animal inside the chimney. Some animals also like to build nests in dormant fireplaces. This, of course, is a major blockage that will prevent smoke from rising through the chimney. Instead, the smoke will spill out into your house.

All chimneys have a liner to protect the brick or masonry. Seasonal changes from hot to cold can crack the liner. Then, frequent fires will cause additional cracking to the liner and damage the brick or masonry. A chimney sweep can repair a cracked liner, saving you from expensive repairs down the road.

To learn more about how often you should clean your chimney and other fireplace issues, call Atlanta Chimney Doctor at (678) 525-7943.