How often should you have your chimney cleaned?

double chimneys

How do you know if your chimney needs to be cleaned?

Chimney cleaning is one of those homeowner tasks that nobody enjoys doing. With winter approaching, getting that chimney cleaning and inspection is just as important as getting your water pipes wrapped. You wrap the pipes to keep them from freezing and busting something that homeowners can do themselves unless they burst. For chimney cleaning and repair, it is best to have a professional chimney cleaning service to handle that task for you.

Every fireplace, coal or wood-burning stove that is used needs chimney cleaning periodically, if not by the homeowner, by a professional chimney cleaning service. Sitting by a roaring fire on a winter night is cozy and warm, but the by-products from that fire deposit creosote and soot inside the chimney or flue pipe. 

What is creosote? Creosote forms when you burn wood and the oils in the wood do not burn completely, but off-gas as travels through the smoke. As the smoke rises, it cools and ultimately condenses with other chemicals and water inside the chimney and flue. If you can’t remember the last chimney cleaning you had, if you answer yes to any of these four questions, it is time to make that phone call to a professional chimney cleaning service: 

  • One: Fire slow to start or the flames aren’t burning bright.
  • Two: Does the room fill up with smoke when the fireplace or stove is lit?
  • Three: Does the entire house smell like smoke after burning the fireplace or stove?
  • Four: Without a fire burning, do you feel cold air or is there a bad odor coming from the fireplace or stove?

How do you clean a chimney?

Every time you use your fireplace or stove, the chimney accumulates creosote and soot. When they aren’t cleaned periodically, it becomes a fire hazard. Chimney cleaning can be messy, which is why hiring a professional chimney cleaning service is the way most homeowners go. However, a DIY homeowner can purchase chimney cleaning equipment and a chimney cleaning with liner, then research the Internet for a video to watch on how to clean your chimney. Or, call a professional chimney sweep!        

Do chimney cleaning logs really work?

So, you don’t want to do your own chimney cleaning, and you don’t want to spend the money on a professional chimney cleaning service. Do those chimney cleaning logs work? They’re cheap and they sound like they’re an easy fix, right? You place a creosote sweeping log in the fireplace or stove, and in just a few minutes, all that creosote and soot is gone. 

Do they really work that good though? Yes, somewhat. There is a chemical catalyst in these types of logs that reduces the creosote in the early stages by as much as 60% if used repeatedly. Do they work as well as hiring a professional chimney cleaning service though? No, they do not!

Do you need to clean your chimney every year?

As a homeowner, you want to make sure all the systems in your home are in working order, like the HVAC system. The fireplace or stove system shouldn’t be any different, which is why you need to have it inspected, cleaned, repaired annually. The fireplace and chimney cleaning is not a place to cut corners, especially if you use it during the winter.

chimney on a roof

What happens if you don’t clean your chimney?

Creosote builds up inside the chimney each time you use your fireplace. When left alone, the smoke from the fire cools as it rises to the chimney, causing the creosote to compress to the chimney wall – creating a fire hazard and creating carbon monoxide poisoning. The hazardous smoke will seep through your house, irritating anyone in your home with breathing issues, and create severe suffocation. The chimney cap can become corroded and rusted, the damper, and the flute can become damaged, and the chimney can collect dust, dried leaves, and bird or other small critter nests. Chimney cleaning will remove these, making it safe to start that fire the first cold winter night. 

Another advantage of having a professional chimney cleaning service, the contractor will advise you if there are any cracks or damage that needs repair before you light up another cozy winter fire. Chimney cleaning needs to be a must-do task for every homeowner, even if you don’t use the fireplace. If the damper doesn’t close properly, your losing air conditioning and heat there. When the damper doesn’t close, it allows small animals to enter your home like birds, mice, possums, rats, squirrels, etc. 

While it is possible to do your own chimney cleaning, the services of a professional chimney cleaning service are safer and will be thorough. A regular scheduled twice a year is the minimum time recommended and in between those appointments, a DIY chimney cleaning will keep it clean and safe to use. Need chimney cleaning in Porter and Houston, TX? Call Tapias Roofing and Repairs at (936) 242-4375 today!