Chimney Sweeping Process And Fireplace Cleaning Checklist

As you read through this article, you’ll find as much information regarding chimney and fireplace sweeps. These include facts about chimney sweeps, how it works, and how it’s done as well as the different methods involved.

Read on for details on these and more.

How To Sweep A Chimney

There are lots of reasons why your chimney should be kept clean. The most obvious reason has to do with safety. It’s no secret that a chimney laden with creosote and soot on its flue lining will easily result in a chimney fire.

This is a situation you’d rather avoid as the risks can be significant.

Now, having your chimney and fireplace swept goes a long way to prevent these problems. Although such activity can be quite messy, it is worth it. Plus, it isn’t an activity to be carried out too frequently.

Here is how to prepare for a chimney sweep.

Things A Chimney Sweep Should Do

Whenever you call a chimney sweep, certain tasks are essential and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Although professional chimney sweeps know just what needs to be done, following up or inspecting would be in order.

In other words, a chimney sweep may forget to cover certain areas. Also, how detailed such cleaning should depend largely on what you want.

A long time ago, children were used as sweeps but this gruesome practice has been banned for years now.

What Is A Chimney Sweep?

Here is a list of duties that a chimney sweep typically performs.

  • Checking and Removing Creosote Deposits

Creosote deposits are known to be very flammable and have been responsible for chimney fires.

You don’t want this to be faced with such a problem. Therefore during a chimney and fireplace sweep, creosote deposits more than 1/8 inch thick should be cleared.

To find out if the chimney is due for sweeping, a detailed inspection will have to be carried out. This assesses the present condition. What follows will depend on what the findings are.

  • Inspecting the Firebox

Part of the responsibilities of a chimney sweep is to inspect the firebox. Here, any damages or issues such as crumbling mortar or damaged bricks are inspected and fixed. You must hire a professional chimney sweep to have this job done.

  • Clearing and Removing Chimney and Fireplace Debris

Your chimney is expected to be free of debris. This is because such debris will likely prevent proper airflow. Removing such debris helps with easy airflow.

  • Inspect for Additional Issues

Chimney and fireplace sweep come in to provide a variety of maintenance services.

Among these services include inspecting or checking the damper for rusted sections as well as cracks or pitting. All forms of corrosion are tackled head-on.

Guide To Hiring Chimney Sweeping Companies

When seeking chimney and fireplace sweep services, it’s necessary to ensure you only settle for professionals with an appreciable level of experience.

So, what exactly are we talking about? Experience and professionalism entail a lot of things. These include;

  • Proper Identification

This is a very important selection criterion that helps you choose the right person for the job. Sometimes, solicitors pose as professionals. Experience has shown that taking such a route will increase your exposure to risks.

The best way to avoid this is by contacting a reputable chimney sweep service provider. This should be followed by checking the technician’s identity to ensure they are with the company you contacted.

Most reliable chimney and fireplace sweep services will provide uniforms or I.D badges (or both). This will also include a well-branded vehicle.

  • Check for Licensing

A lot of homeowners have fallen prey to unqualified chimney sweep services. This is largely due to the unregulated nature of this industry. Having an unregulated industry exposes potential clients to all forms of sharp practices.

The best way to avoid falling prey to unqualified chimney sweeps is by only patronizing those with licensing and certifications from nationally recognized associations. This gives an added layer of confidence regarding their ability to get the job done.

  • How Prompt is Your Service Provider?

Whenever you call for a chimney and fireplace sweep, it’s necessary to pay attention to how fast they respond to your call. In other words, a professional chimney sweep service won’t keep you waiting. Such a company gives you a definite time frame they’d be arriving.

The provision of a definite time frame reflects the level of professionalism. Avoid those who won’t give you a definite time of arrival. If there are going to be some delays, the company should be able to inform you of such delays beforehand.

  • Be Wary of Telemarketers

The level of service chimney and fireplace sweep service you get largely depends on who gets the job done. Now, telemarketing has become increasingly popular. However, the downside here involves enticing unsuspecting potential clients with ridiculously cheap prices while selling such leads to unqualified independent contractors.

No matter how enticing such offers may seem, try as much as possible to avoid them. Doing so saves you unnecessary stress.

  • Consider it a Safety Issue

Apart from how risky a DIY chimney is, who you hire for your chimney and fireplace sweeping is very crucial to your safety.

It’s no secret that unqualified sweeps result in fire hazards as well as exposure to toxic fumes. Therefore when choosing who to perform the job, it’s important to not only focus on the cost, but also on how well it’s done.

Only a professional chimney sweep provides thorough chimney and fireplace cleaning. This should be your focus.

  • Customer Reviews is Important

Customer reviews are an important indicator of the capability of a chimney and fireplace sweep service provider. There’s never a short supply of bogus claims from questionable chimney-sweeping companies.

The only way to weed out such claims is by going through customer reviews. Online customer reviews provide a wealth of information about companies whose services are satisfactory. The most logical thing to do should be patronizing only those with the most positive customer reviews.

  • Insurance Coverage

Liability insurance coverage is one way of knowing if a chimney and fireplace sweeping company are up to the task. In other words, you want to know if this service provider can cover for damages or which may result when such a service is being provided.

If not, the risks are entirely borne by you. This is a difficult situation you’d want to avoid as much as you can. The best way to avoid such a problem is by patronizing only companies with comprehensive liability insurance coverage.

Sweeping Frequency

While chimney and fireplace sweeping is necessary for maintaining a functional chimney, it’s also necessary to know how frequently it should be done.

Now, there’s a recommended frequency for chimney and fireplace sweeps.

This is provided by the National Fire Protection Association.

It recommends the inspection and cleaning of chimneys at least once a year. This frequency helps with the maintenance of sound operation, removal of deposits as at when due, and also with the maintenance of proper clearances.

Fireplace Cleaning Checklist

To maintain a functional fireplace, it’s essential to have a basic cleaning checklist. Such should include wearing the right cleaning tools. These include dust masks, safety glasses, and a flashlight.

When cleaning the fireplace, the goal is to remove creosote deposits. This can be carried out by a professional or can be done yourself. The decision is entirely up to you. If you must clean the fireplace yourself, you must get prepared because it can be quite messy.

A bristle brush is needed to scrape off creosote deposits on the flue. Your torch will come in handy in helping you find or spot areas needing some cleaning.

Chimney Cleaning Checklist

When cleaning your chimney, it’s important to have a checklist. This helps you stick to essential tasks that need to be performed. Without these, there’s hardly a satisfactory cleaning job.

GUIDE: Cleaning A Woodstove Chimney

There are five steps to follow during chimney cleaning. They include the following;

  • Chimney Cap Inspection

Not only does a chimney cap help to keep water out of a chimney, but it also serves as a barrier that prevents pests from gaining access. What more? The chimney cap also serves as an exit for smoke.

So, why does the chimney cap need to be inspected?

Over time, your chimney cap is likely to get damaged due to the impact of the weather. Likely conditions leading to its deterioration include ice, hail, snow, rainstorms, and high winds.

You’ll need to inspect to replace the missing chimney caps or have them fixed.

  • Sweeping Off Creosote

Creosote deposits on flue are among the primary reasons why you need to have your chimney cleaned. It’s important to clean them off as they are highly flammable and can lead to chimney fires.

Having it cleaned once a year will suffice.

  • Checking for Water Leaks and Damage

Water leaks and moisture are known enemies of chimneys. This is brought about by the action of the weather. The impact of such actions of nature will need to be inspected and fixed when the need arises.

  • Cleaning Ash in the Firebox

If you want to prevent the rusting of metal parts of your fireplace, you should ensure that ash is cleaned off from your firebox. This is because ash easily attracts moisture which isn’t good for your chimney.

  • Inspecting and Reapplying Waterproofing

Bricks and concrete are known to soak up water. This continued process eventually affects your chimney. The best way to address this problem is by applying a waterproofing material to serve as your chimney coating.

Chimney and fireplace sweeping is an essential maintenance action that must be carried out as frequently as necessary. This helps improve the condition and functioning of your chimney.