Frequently Asked Questions
Our experts are happy to answer all of your chimney and fireplace questions. Did we miss anything? Reach out – we’re here to help!
Q: Why do I need to have my chimney professionally cleaned?
A: Whether you burn wood or fire logs, flammable particles are created and carried up with the smoke. These particles can settle along your chimney liner and cause a chimney fire, which can easily spread to other areas of your home through cracks in the liner.
By scheduling regular cleanings, you’ll help ensure that dangerous levels of these flammable particles don’t build up on your chimney’s walls and lead to a dangerous chimney fire.
Q: How often should I schedule a chimney cleaning?
A: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 211 states that, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) also recommends regular cleanings, and states that it’s time to clean your fireplace when soot buildup has reached ¼” or when glazed creosote is present – whichever occurs first.
Schedule your annual inspection and never have to wonder if it’s time to have your chimney cleaned!
Q: What is causing my fireplace to smoke and what should I do about it?
A: If your fireplace is smoking, check for these things:
- Creosote buildup, animals and nesting materials, or other flue blockages. The best way to handle these things is to have your chimney professionally cleaned.
- A closed damper. A closed damper will trap the smoke and force it to re-enter your home. Make sure your damper is opened and working properly.
- A flue that is too small for your appliance. Take a 4-6” wide piece of aluminum foil and place it above your fireplace opening. If the smoke stops or the problem lessens, you may want to have a Smoke Guard or a draft induction fan installed.
- Chimney height. If your chimney is not the tallest thing around, you may need to have your chimney extended.
- The wrong firewood. Using unseasoned wood can cause your fireplace to smoke significantly – and it also contributes to buildup. Make sure you’re using only properly seasoned wood in your fireplace
Q: Why is my fireplace stinky and what can I do?
A: Most chimney odor problems are a result of creosote paired with humidity. The simple solution is to have your chimney cleaned. You may also need to utilize baking soda, kitty litter, or a commercial chimney deodorant. Be sure to have your chimney checked for leaks as well and ask about a top-mounted damper.
Some odors are also caused by animals in the flue. If you have a pest problem, we can offer solutions. Remember, though, that some critters, like the chimney swift, are endangered and cannot be removed. That said, once they leave during the cooler months, we’d be happy to set you up with a chimney cap to prevent their return.
Q: What should I do if I have a chimney fire?
A: If you have a chimney fire, call the fire department and evacuate your home. Do not use your chimney and fireplace until it has been professionally inspected and cleared for use.