Annual Servicing of Oil-Fired Appliance Chimneys
Annual Servicing of Oil-Fired Appliance Chimneys eliminates the by-product of the incomplete combustion of fuel oil (unburned carbon and sulphur) - commonly called oil soot. Oil soot accumulates on the walls and at the base of the chimney.
Chimneys should be inspected and serviced annually by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®. The best time of the year to sweep an oil chimney is in the springtime, after the heating season. By sweeping the chimney at this time, you don’t have to worry about a sudden cold snap interfering with the recommended annual servicing of your appliance.
During the winter, the oil fired appliance is subject to long running cycles. These long run times produce However, the combustion process also produces carbon monoxide (a tasteless, odorless, poisonous gas). Carbon monoxide may spill back into the house instead of going up the chimney.
If appliances are not adequately vented or when the chimney base is not properly swept, oil soot that may adhere to the sides of the chimney. The accumulation of these soot deposits can fall to the base of a masonry chimney, or directly into the top of the oil fired appliance. This fallen soot build-up may restrict the flow of flue gases which consist mostly of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.
A common misconception is that the oil service company takes care of the chimney.
The reality is that the oil burner company may shovel out the base of a brick chimney and they may brush out the connector pipes, but likely will not clean the chimney system. Additionally, many oil burner service technicians may tell the homeowner that the system is okay without even inspecting the entire chimney. This includes going to the roof and inspecting the interior as well as the exterior masonry (if applicable), flashing, chimney cap, etc.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211 states that chimneys shall be “inspected annually and cleaned and repaired if needed”. Just as the oil furnace is serviced annually, so should your chimney system be serviced annually by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®. Many homeowners are not aware that the chimney’s interior, when not properly maintained, will decay and break down. Failing to have an annual chimney inspection allows such decay to remain undetected - just as failing to have your teeth checked annually may allow cavities to remain undetected.
What would happen if you didn’t change the motor oil in your car for 50,000 miles Regular maintenance always pays off in the long run. The same applies with your chimney. As stated earlier in this publication, soot is comprised of carbon and sulphur. This sulphur, when mixed with rain water or moisture from the flue gases is absorbed into the flue tile and starts a deteriorating process called flaking or spalling. Just like tartar on your teeth, annual service will remove these soot deposits and keep the deterioration process to a minimum. In metal chimneys the interior lining is constructed of stainless steel, which will not rust, but can corrode from the oil soot’s sulfuric acid reaction.
This corrosion causes small pinholes to form which ruin the integrity of the liner. When these pinholes form, the liner is unable to properly contain the byproducts of combustion. When a clay lining in a masonry chimney flakes, or a metal chimney or lining system corrodes, they are unable to contain the heat and the flue gases, thus creating a potential hazard. When your CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep arrives at your home to perform the annual inspection and sweeping of the oil chimney, you can typically expect to see the following: There will likely be some equipment set-up. Steps will be taken to seal off areas which may otherwise allow soot to enter your home.
The pipe connecting the oil furnace to the chimney will be disconnected, swept and reconnected. An inspection of the exterior of the chimney will be made. The chimney/flue will be swept if needed, and the interior of the chimney will be inspected to determine its soundness. Any loosened soot deposits will be removed. When service has been completed, the furnace will be restarted for you. When your technician has completed the evaluation, he or she will recommend any corrective actions that might be required. An annual inspection and sweeping by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep is your first line of defense to detect any potential problems.
Operate the chimney system in your home safely and responsibly... because it is where you live!