Regardless of how often you use the fireplace, you will eventually need a chimney sweep to inspect and clean the chimney. Your chimney sweep plays an essential role in helping to prevent chimney fires, masonry damage, and other issues, so your family can enjoy a safe fireplace experience.
In addition, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends homeowners with solid, or fossil fuel heating appliances have annual chimney inspections and cleaning when necessary. So, watch out for these five warning signs that are telling you it’s time to call a chimney sweep:
It is not normal for a fireplace to fill up with smoke and is a sign you need a chimney sweep. A smoky fireplace is an indication that the smoke and exhaust are not venting out the chimney efficiently.
It could be due to a flue obstruction, creosote build-up, masonry damage, or another issue affecting the draft. It could also cause poisonous carbon monoxide gas to leak into your living space. So, please avoid using the fireplace until it has been inspected by a Certified Chimney Sweep®, like Fluesbrothers.
Creosote Build-Up on the Damper and Fireplace
Burning wood in the fireplace creates creosote; a carbonous compound naturally produced during combustion. Most of the creosote vents out the flue; however, some of the material accumulates on the interior masonry walls, flue liner, smoke chamber, and other areas inside the chimney. You may even notice this dark and crusty substance on the damper and firebrick inside the firebox. Creosote is a volatile and highly flammable organic material.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends professional chimney cleaning when there is 1/8-inch or more creosote build-up in the flue. You should at least have your chimney professionally swept annually.
Poor Quality Fires
When it is more difficult to light or maintain a fire or your fires are not burning as efficiently as they should, it is another vital sign that you need a chimney sweep. Proper draft flow is essential for lighting and maintaining efficient fires. When an obstruction or other issue is affecting the chimney draft, there is a risk of a dangerous backdraft that will push smoke, soot, and hot debris into your home if the issue is not resolved.
Foul Odors in the Chimney
At Fluesbrothers, we get a lot of calls throughout the year from customers about foul odors in the chimney. Trapped wildlife, decaying organic material, and even mold spores from a chimney leak can cause produce a bad smell in your chimney. To prevent the problem from worsening or water damage from a leaky chimney, schedule a chimney cleaning with a Certified Chimney Professional® as soon as possible.
Pieces of Clay Liner Material in the Firebox
Many flue liners in the Kansas City area still have the original clay or terracotta liners. A flue liner is essential for containing the fire in the chimney, so the heat and flames don’t spread to combustible materials and start a house fire. So, if you notice pieces of clay material in the firebox, you need to call a chimney sweep right away.
We can quickly and efficiently repair your damaged flue liner with Heatshield®. It’s a refractory sealant that repairs and strengthens damaged liners and other cracks, gaps, and spalling brick in the chimney, allowing you to enjoy a safe fire-burning experience when using the fireplace.
Kansas City Certified Chimney Sweep
When you need to have your chimney inspected or cleaned, the certified chimney sweeps at Fluesbrothers are here to help. We provide professional chimney inspections, cleaning, and high-quality masonry repairs throughout the Greater Kansas City area. Speak with a chimney professional at (913) 236-7141 or contact us online today!