Top Signs You Need A Chimney Cleaning

Top signs you need a chimney cleaning. This interview explains how a chimney sweep works, and why it is important. You're wondering whether it's time to get a chimney cleaning. Many people don't know what...

You're wondering whether it's time to get a chimney cleaning. Many people don't know what signs to look for. Our expert, Stewart Rabon, an experienced chimney sweeper of eight years, has some advice.

"The best way is a professional inspection. If you look up in the chimney and you see material building up on the damper a quarter to an eighth of an inch thick that is usually a sign. Also, if you open your damper and see material fall down, that is a sign also," Rabon says.

In the end, Rabon says you have to use your judgment. A good idea is to have an annual cleaning done the same time every year. Right before the winter season starts is a good time.

According to the website,, how often you should have your chimney cleaned depends on how much the chimney is utilized. If you are not the type of person who uses your chimney everyday (if you only use it a few times a year) your chimney will probably be fine with one cleaning every year. However, if you use your chimney all day everyday, you may need several cleanings throughout the winter months. You can always have a professional inspect it and he or she can give you a better idea of when your chimney will need another cleaning.

There are some important facts to know about chimney cleaning. Freshly cut woods tend to build up creosote faster than hardwoods. Creosote is a carcinogen and it can be deadly. If you have a stove or fireplace insert, you will have to clean your chimney more often. The way you handle your fireplace also affects the cleanliness of it. The location of your chimney in your house and the construction of it make a big difference too. Both of these have an affect on how much creosote builds up.

A good rule of thumb is to not ever assume your chimney is functioning properly even if you rarely use it. Many problems can make your chimney a potential threat to your family and safety. Cracks, lighting strikes, daily use, moisture issues, and pests can cause big problems for your chimney.

A chimney inspector or sweeper should examine the rooftop, attic, firebox, and foundation. Rabon says only a professional can truly understand all of these areas. He or she will also know exactly what you need to do to fix the problem so you can avoid future problems.

In the end, Rabon says if you can't remember the last time you had a chimney cleaning, then it's time to call a chimney sweeper. Chances are there is a lot of residue built up in your chimney. The most important reason to clean your chimney is chimney-induced fires. Every year hundreds of houses burn down because of dirty chimneys. These are fires that could have been avoided. It is also possible that insurance companies won't pay your claim if they find you were negligent in maintaining your chimney.

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