If you own a home with a fireplace, you likely already know that you should get it professionally cleaned at least once per year. But sometimes you need to contact your chimney sweep before your next routine annual cleaning.
There are several clues you can search for that will indicate your flue and fireplace require a more urgent cleaning appointment. Though you can tidy your fireplace yourself, you will need to hire an expert to effectively clean your flue. Read on to find four ways you can tell that you should call your local chimney sweeper for a cleaning.
4 Clues That It’s Time for a Chimney Cleaning
Dark Oily Residues
If a visual check of your fireplace and chimney flue reveals dark or oily stains, this means you are due for a chimney sweep. These stains are creosote, a build-up that accrues in the flue as you burn fire and smoke travels up the chimney. It leaves behind a tar-like substance that crusts over and remains in the flue.
Not only does creosote make the chimney look dirty, but it is also combustible. This means that it poses a risk of starting a dangerous fire in your home. It can also corrode the interior of your chimney, causing property damage.
Chimney experts agree that if the creosote accrues to one-eighth of an inch, it is time for a professional to clean and sweep your chimney to get rid of this build-up. Do not delay this cleaning for too long or you could put your home in danger.
Odors from the Fireplace
A smoky smell wafting from the fireplace, especially when you are not burning a fire at that time, could mean you require a chimney cleaning. The smell might not seem unpleasant; it could resemble a campfire. But this lingering odor comes from creosote build-up that could harm your home if it remains.
Poor Burning Quality
If you have trouble starting a fire and getting it to burn at the intensity you prefer, this could occur due to poor airflow in the flue of the chimney. Fires need oxygen to burn. And if it cannot get this air, even with the damper open, you might have a clog.
Call a chimney sweep to find the source of this blockage and clear or clean it away. The experts have access to video technology to examine your flue. This way they can determine the cause of this clog and eliminate it with the proper technique.
Suspected Critter Presence
Do you hear sounds in your chimney? A fluttering, scratching, or rustling that has you suspecting that animals or other critters are nesting in your chimney? You will need to call your chimney sweep about this issue.
They can remove nests and pests to make sure your chimney flue remains clear. This ensures you can build a fire safely and that critters will not cause structural damage to your home by staying put.