Having your chimney cleaned professionally by a Milwaukee chimney cleaner is something that should be done at least once a year.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) says that fireplaces need
to be cleaned when there is 1/8″ of sooty buildup inside the chimney or
flue system. Since homeowners may not be able to judge the condition of
the system, it is advised that a professional Chimney Inspection be
done by a CSIA Chimney Sweep. This will determine whether a chimney
cleaning is needed. When any glaze is appearing in the flue, cleaning
should be done immediately. This glazing is a dangerous state that is
susceptible to combustion. When an accumulation of soot and creosote
occurs it can fuel a chimney fire that will likely damage the chimney.
Many chimney fires that start this way can spread to the roof and home.
Furnace flue systems also require cleaning, so it is a good idea to
inspect and clean those venting systems at the same time your chimney,
stove or fireplace is done.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA ) says, “Fireplaces,
Chimneys, Flues and Venting Systems need to be inspected at least once a
year for freedom from deposits, soundness and correct clearances.
Maintenance, Repairs and Cleaning shall be done if necessary.” Even if
you don’t use your chimney often – raccoons, birds, squirrels and other
animals may be using your chimney for a nesting area. This will make the
fireplace unsafe to use without clearing out the accumulated debris
from pests. Wind, rain and snow also blow leaves and branches into
unprotected chimney openings.
During the cleaning most soot and creosote will be removed from the
smoke chamber, chimney liner, damper area and firebox. Heavy use
fireplaces can produce up to 2 full 5 gallon buckets of material! To
continue safer use of the fireplace and reduce risk of chimney fires
this highly combustible material must be removed before it builds up to
What Time of Year Should I Clean my Chimney?
Before you start thinking about building a fire or cranking up the
furnace, it is a good idea to schedule your cleaning or inspection.
Before the burning and heating season begins in summer or early fall is a
perfect time to schedule this work. If you have already started using
the system, don’t worry we do this type of work year round. Don’t wait
until the next year, skipping a year can be a bad move. If you recently
bought a home an inspection should be done as soon as possible.
Removing soot, blockages and creosote form your system is important
to a safer operation of your systems during the heating season.
Protecting your family’s safety and your home against damage are the
real benefits of having a chimney inspection and proper cleaning. It
only takes a small amount of creosote glazing and a spark to create the
potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is the substance that builds up
inside of your chimney liner as a result of wood burning. This highly
flammable substance builds up faster if you do not have good burning
practices or have an appliance or system that is not working properly.
Pine should be avoided as a staple for wood burning as it produces rapid
creosote accumulation. This build-up will also effect the performance
of the system by reducing draw and reducing heating efficiency.
Why Should I Have a Chimney Inspection?
If it has been over a year since your last inspection, it is time to
schedule one. If you have any issues with performance of your heating
system, chimney or fireplace, schedule an inspection. If you have
recently purchased the home, you need to have an inspection. Don’t just
rely on what the previous owners say about the last cleaning and
inspection. If you have recently changed or upgraded your heating
system, stove or fireplace insert, please get the inspection. The
inspection will make sure the chimney, lining and venting systems are
adequate and in working order to handle the changes.
Waiting in any of these situations almost always results in added
repairs and increased cost. Unfortunately, sometimes even in property
loss or injury. In the US, homeowners lose more than 200 million dollars
every year due to unsafe chimneys, flues, fireplaces, stoves and
Many homeowners assume that since they don’t use their system much,
they don’t need to get an inspection. Problem is that pests may have
built nests clogging your flue, lining or chimney smoke chamber. Freeze
and thaw cycles combined with moisture also take a toll on your chimney
and liner even if you don’t use it. Normal wear and tear is just a fact
of life for chimney systems. Defects that are detected during annual
inspections and fixed are always the best choice. The longer the
problems go unfound, the more costly repairs are likely to be. Staying
up on your fireplace, stove and furnace and venting systems maintenance
is the safest, smartest and most cost-effective way to go.
Inspect your Chimney Once a Year
Annual Chimney Inspections are recommended to be sure that all
components are in working order. As a rule many homeowners have a
cleaning once a year at the same time. When we inspect a chimney, if it
doesn’t need a cleaning we will advice the customer that they are ok
until next inspection. Remember, other venting systems that connected to
furnaces and stoves also need to be cleaned and inspected on a regular
basis too. These inspections and cleanings are important to your home
and family’s safety and certainly not an area to cut corners or neglect
the maintenance called for. Don’t risk the chance of a costly repair
resulting from lack of maintenance or worse yet – a chimney fire.