If you own a home with a fireplace that has a chimney, you should call in a professional at least once a year to have it cleaned. Why is this necessary? Because dangerous creosote can build up over time within your chimney, which can cause poor air quality in your home, and potentially start a fire. Creosote glaze has a thick, inky look to it that can collect and drip down into your fireplace. If you notice this substance, it’s time to make a cleaning appointment.
But a cleaning involves more than just a comprehensive sweep of the interior. It also includes a thorough inspection to ensure that the components of your chimney are in good shape and working optimally. This post will explore and help you learn more about the chimney cleaning process, how to prepare for your service, and what you can expect during your appointment.
The Importance of Hiring a Professional
While some DIY cleaning options exist, hiring a professional chimney cleaning team to tackle this job is best. Products like creosote logs only help to maintain your chimney on the surface level, they do not work to clean it in the same way a proper service can. Since your chimney is a complex system with many working parts, any damage to these pieces can result in fire byproducts infiltrating your air and cause buildup and debris within your chimney. A professional cleaning team may also be capable of replacing damaged materials, including flashing, caps, and flues, to keep your chimney working well. Additionally, the team could also recommend and install upgrades as needed.
Before Your Appointment
After you’ve contacted a reputable company to come to clean your chimney, there are a few things you can do to prepare for this service. Most importantly, don’t light a fire at least 48 hours before your appointment. This is because your cleaning team can only work on chimneys that have been cool for at least 24 hours. Additionally, move away any furniture, decor, or rugs from the fireplace area. Ensure you are home to greet the cleaning team on time, and do your best to keep family members out of the space before and during the appointment.
Protecting Your Home
The first thing the professional will do is to determine whether it is safe to clean the chimney. This entails checking for any immediate or dangerous structural damage that could worsen throughout the chimney cleaning process. Once it has been confirmed that there are no immediate hazards, they’ll close off the fireplace to prevent any ash or soot from coming into your home during the cleaning process. Then they’ll lay down plastic or drop cloth to protect your flooring and any surrounding furniture. Their specialized vacuum and other tools will also be set up before starting to ensure the process goes smoothly and necessary steps are followed.
Scraping the Lining
To start the cleaning process, the chimney sweep will check that the damper is closed and start running the vacuum. The interior lining of the chimney will be scraped clean with a long-bristled brush to remove any of the built-up soot and creosote that can fuel a chimney fire. Once this is complete, they will move on to clean the firebox, damper and smoke shelf by hand or with the vacuum.
The Chimney Inspection
To ensure that all the chimney systems are working optimally, the professional will inspect all the components, including the cap or crown, flashing, venting system, supports, and flue. The professional will look for any cracks and signs of damage to the lining and other materials. They will also check for nests or signs of a pest or animal infestation. If anything is found to be affecting the system’s performance or if something needs to be replaced, it can be addressed at this time.
Any remaining debris that has fallen into the fireplace area will be carefully vacuumed up and cleaned away before the chimney sweep will remove tools and drop cloths. This is an important step for homeowners as the contents from your chimney, including creosote glaze, can be incredibly difficult to clean with household products. One of the most important indicators of a great chimney cleaning company is that once they are gone, aside from your clean chimney, you can’t even tell they have been there because your home is just as sparking clean as before.
Scheduling Your Next Appointment
Sweeping should be done yearly, at a minimum, to keep your chimney clean and safe. Neglecting it can create a dangerous situation and dramatically increase the fire risk if enough soot and creosote accumulate within it. Keep your home warm and maintain peace of mind each winter by scheduling an annual chimney cleaning each spring, summer, or fall season so it can be ready to take on the next winter. The best time to book your chimney cleaning service is as soon as you’ve finished using it for the season, so you don’t forget.
Who Should You Hire?
Top Hat Home Comfort provides more than basic cleaning services for your property. We also offer repair and maintenance services, including installing chimney liners, dampers, rain caps and screens. We can also repair and rebuild the chimney masonry and re-caulk around the flashing if need be. As part of our package, you will receive a complimentary 16-point report outlining any issues that could affect the safety or performance of the chimney system, along with any recommendations or solutions.
WETT Inspection Certified
A Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) inspection takes a more comprehensive look at your solid fuel system. At Top Hat, we are able to provide this inspection along with the 16-point one mentioned above. Typically, WETT Inspections are requested by a prospective home buyer or insurance company to maintain coverage. Our team can perform this inspection to detail the condition of your system, along with safety requirements, including measurements of essential clearances. All systems that pass a WETT inspection are provided with a certificate indicating:
- The type of unit inspected
- The date of inspection
- The address of the unit inspected
- The WETT certification number of the technician
Although usually requested by a third party, an occasional WETT inspection can reassure you that everything is in good working order when it comes to your fireplace and chimney.
Your fireplace is a beautiful addition to your home. Whether you frequently use it or it is simply a decorative element, it must be maintained for numerous reasons. Keep your home and family safe by booking a chimney cleaning appointment with us today. We go beyond a simple cleaning to provide a full scope of care to your chimney. Additionally, we are available to perform a WETT Inspection should you require it. To learn more about our services and prices, get in touch with us. We’re always happy to answer any questions and provide you with a quote.