Most homeowners know that their chimney needs to be swept from time to time, however, they don’t always know how often. In fact, some homeowners will wait until they have blockage issues before they decide they should have maintenance performed on their chimney system. Waiting too long to have your chimney cleaned can often have dire consequences including blockages, airflow issues, and even chimney fires. In fact, chimney fires are labeled as one of the leading causes of residential house fires every year. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) there is, on average, more than 20,000 residential house fires caused by chimney fires every year. One of the most unfortunate things about these fires is that they probably could have been prevented. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), the leading contributor to chimney fires is having a chimney that hasn’t been properly swept. This is why the CSIA and the NFPA both state that homeowners need to have their chimney and fireplace inspected at least once a year. At Northeastern Masonry and Chimney, we can’t stress enough to homeowners the importance of getting their chimney swept.
How does sweeping help my chimney operate?
We often get asked how does chimney cleaning process work? Well, to explain the process, we first need to explain what creosote is. If you own a wood, pellet, or coal burning appliance, there are many byproducts that are produced when you burn fuel. These byproducts are often in the form of smoke, soot, and other gases. These gases cool down as they go up to your chimney and begin to condense on the inside of your chimney. After multiple usages, this condensation will build up into a sticky tar-like substance called creosote. Creosote build up causes a number of issues. First, it can block your chimney causing issues with airflow. Airflow issues can lead to poor fires and smoke flowing back into your home. Another, more dangerous consequence of creosote buildup is that it is combustible. In fact, it takes as little as ¼ of an inch of creosote build-up on the inside of a chimney to start a chimney fire that is nearly impossible to put out.
Now that you know what creosote is and why it is so dangerous, we can explain to you the process of cleaning your chimney. At Northeastern Masonry and Chimney, we take pride in how well we clean your chimney and we want to make sure that your chimney cleaning experience with us is quick, clean, and non-intrusive. After you schedule an appointment, we will ask the homeowner to prepare for our arrival by moving anything that is fragile or breakable near the fireplace out of the way. Larger heavier appliances and furniture can also be moved, but we will bring protective drop clothes with us to protect these things as well as your carpet. We will also bring rug runners and wear shoe covers so that we can move around without causing even the slightest mess.
When it’s time to clean your chimney, all brushable creosote and soot will be removed from your fireplace. Oftentimes, depending on the type of flue that you have, we will be using different types of brushes. Using the wrong brush on a flue can cause damage to it, which is why it is extremely important to hire a chimney technician with experience. We will make sure that every section of your chimney is cleaned, including elbows and connector pipes, which can become dislodged if an inexperienced chimney sweep uses the wrong sized brush to brush them. Once the chimney flue is clean, all the soot and creosote from the smoke shelf and firebox will be swept and removed. During the sweeping process, a chimney technician will be cleaning from both ends of your chimney (the fireplace and they top of your chimney) at a given time. During the sweeping process, our chimney technicians will inspect the fireplace to make sure there aren’t any other issues of concern. If there are, we will discuss them with you as well as explain what can be done to resolve those issues. After we are finished with the sweeping, We will gather up the drop cloths and rug runners and then use high-speed vacuums to guarantee that your home is as clean as when we arrived.
Let us serve you!
At Northeastern Masonry and Chimney, we are proud to serve the Albany, NY area, along the Hudson Valley, and Western Massachusetts. If you haven’t had your chimney serviced in the past year and you live in our service area, be sure to contact us today to set up a time for a cleaning. Remember, chimney sweepings are essential for the safe operation of your heating appliance, so don’t hesitate to call us at 518-767-9314, or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to helping you make sure that your new year is a clean and safe one!