Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cleaning your Chimney: Preparing for Winter Months

How often your chimney needs cleaning depends on how often you use the fireplace, the kinds of fires you build in the fireplace and the type of wood you use for your fires. Generally, a chimney cleaning is recommended at least once per year. During the winter months, if you are burning a fire every day or for several hours per day, then you might need a chimney sweep as often as once per month.

Signs your chimney needs to be cleaned

  • Burned wood odors come from the fire place even when it’s not being used 
  • Fires burn poorly   
  •  Fires dump smoke into the room. Smoke back drafts can also be caused by poor chimney construction—it's best to have a chimney repair or masonry professional take a look at your chimney if this is happening
  • While a fire is burning, step outside and look at the smoke coming from the outside of the chimney, if it’s black this is also means it’s time for a cleaning   
  •  The damper is located right above the firebox, and it's is easy to see and reach. If it’s black or has a buildup of creosote or soot on it, both indicate that it’s time to have your chimney cleaned 
  • Prior to getting your chimney cleaned, there must be no fire for a minimum of 12 hours

Facts about Chimney Cleaning

  •  Freshly cut woods tend to build up creosote faster than hardwoods  
  •  Creosote is a carcinogen that can be deadly 
  • Creosote can form when wood is burned incompletely  
  •  As soot builds up over time, it can narrow or block the chimney 
  • Creosote is incredibly flammable, which is why a dirty chimney is a fire hazard
  • A stove fireplace chimney, woodstove chimney and wood-burning fireplaces require cleaning more often than regular fireplaces, usually more than once per year 
  • The location of your chimney on your house makes a difference on how often it needs to be cleaned also   
  •  Even if you don’t burn wood or coal, oil or gas-burning stoves and fireplaces still need to be swept regularly too
If you are in Washington State and would like to have your chimney cleaned or inspected, please contact Powers Chimney and Masonry!

206.718.8532 - Eastside
206.909.0166 - Seattle
360.691.9828 - Northend