As we approach the cold winter months, many people are wondering when a good time to call a chimney sweep may be. In short: now. Before you start using it on a regular basis. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend hiring a chimney sweep once a year, and in this post we will help you understand why this important for your home and for your safety.

Chimney Sweep Responsibilities

The job of a chimney sweep is to remove blockage, soot, and built-up creosote from your chimney liner, damper, firebox and smoke chamber. This type of cleaning will help create a safer operation of your system. It only takes a little accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire, and that build-up can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce efficiency.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be swept at 1/8″ of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system.  This is considered to be enough fuel buildup to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home.

When to call a chimney sweep for help

  1. If you haven’t had your chimney inspected in a year or more
  2. If you are having any performance issues with your chimney, fireplace or heating system
  3. If you have recently purchased the home

If you have not used your fireplace in a long time, pests may have built nests that could clog your flue or chimney chamber. Winter freeze cycles and moisture combine to take an annual toll on masonry and liner materials too.

Why should you have a chimney sweep come every year?

  1. Fire Prevention: A smoky fire without enough oxygen emits lots of unburned tar vapors that can condense inside the fireplace flue and stick to it, possibly leading to a chimney fire.
  2. Energy Saving: Keeping your heating system clean helps it operate more efficiently, and helps stretch your home’s energy dollars.
  1. Pollution Prevention: Operating your combustion appliance most efficiently, whether it is a woodstove, fireplace, pellet stove or furnace, helps reduce the amount of smoke it will generate. Regular maintenance, including chimney sweeping, is important to keep certified stoves and other heating appliances operating at peak efficiency.
  1. Save Lives: Every winter, we hear or read about tragedies occurring when people are poisoned by carbon monoxide due to blocked or faulty flues. Thankfully, regular inspection, cleaning and/or repair can prevent these accidents.

In summary, don’t wait. Waiting almost always results in additional repairs, and unfortunately sometimes in property loss. Every year in the United States, homeowners lose over 200 million dollars as a result of continuing to use unsafe systems. Call our team of chimney sweep professionals at Brick + Ember Outfitters: 317.500.1250. Staying on top of your systems is not only the smartest and safest choice, it ends up being the most cost-effective too.