Chimneys, vents and fireplaces ought to be checked every twelve months for proper clearances, soundness and unwanted deposits. Repairs, cleaning and maintenance should be carried out if required. The American Chimney Safety Institute (CSIA) recommends that fireplaces ought to be cleaned once 1/8 inches of soot is visible inside the flue and chimney system. When glaze appears inside the flue, cleaning ought to be done regardless of how much soot has accumulated.
A chimney sweep cleans and sweeps chimneys, flue pipes, fireplaces and smoke ducts, to stop gas emissions and soot fires. Also, the chimney sweep aims to prevent fires, by consulting with the local fire service. These professionals offer advice on correct burning methods too.
Sweeping operations can last from ten to thirty minutes, based on how prepared the homeowner is for the job and whether any safety issues need to be addressed. The time taken also depends on how long the chimney flue is and what condition it is in.
A Level One inspection is suitable, if you regularly use your fireplace without encountering any issues. Here, the chimney engineer will inspect the chimney areas that are easily accessible.
If your chimney has been damaged by external events or accidents, or you intend to change the way your chimney is used, a Level Two inspection is required. This features extra work, such as an inspection of the crawlspace, attic and other accessible spaces.
Level Three inspections are only advisable when there is evidence of major hidden issues. These types of inspections cost more, because they involve restoring and removing parts of your property.
A standard sweep, with a Level one inspection for general safety, costs from $125 to $250 – based on the chimney type and the condition it is in.
In all likelihood, the chimney on your property has a few different flues inside it. One will serve the fireplace downstairs, another will serve the upstairs fireplace, and there could another for the water heater and maybe the furnace.
The flues in most chimneys terminate over the chimney cap at an identical height. Consequently, exhaust gasses leaving one flue might, in some circumstances, enter a flue nearby. One such circumstance could be wind traveling from a particular direction. Sometimes, traveling wind will push flue gasses out of one flue and into another.
It is creosote that you can smell. You might need to clean your chimney. Or, your chimney might have drafting problems too, because of creosote accumulation or pressure fluctuations within your property – as opposed to outside. Another explanation is that your flue or chimney has developed a fault. It could appear like the smell originates from the hearth, however it is really coming from further up in the chimney. A fireplace expert will need to investigate this in any event.
Creosote is a toxic byproduct of wood burning, and it remains in chimneys until it is taken out. If you have insufficient airflow to a fire, it depletes the fire and stops it from burning the oils inside wood properly. Instead, the oils are converted into gas and pass up into the smoke. After rising, the smoke becomes cool and mixes with chemicals and water inside your flue and chimney. This is how creosote is produced. If you are exposed to creosote, your health can be damaged in a number of ways. Therefore, a professional should be hired to remove it.
Typically, gas logs are designed to look good, rather than generate heat. Although they produce some warmth, they discharge far less energy than gas inserts or inbuilt gas fireplaces. The majority of warmth produced by gas logs goes straight up chimneys — similar to wood burning fireplaces. To make your home warmer, you should get an inbuilt gas fireplace or gas insert.