This is a common question homeowners ask – and for good reason. Proper cleaning is one of the best ways to keep your chimney operating safely and reduce the risk of a chimney fire. The simple answer is, yes, all chimneys and vent systems need some degree of cleaning. Let’s look at the different types of heating appliances and what you need to know about having them cleaned.
If you run an open masonry fireplace, you’re probably enjoying breathtaking fires and the lovely ambiance that only a wood fireplace can bring. But you’re also creating a lot of smoke, which goes up the flue and adds a buildup of creosote on the liner. Creosote is highly flammable and should be professionally cleaned out by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep once a year. You can’t prevent the formation of creosote if you burn wood fires, so play it safe and schedule annual cleanings.
While wood-burning fireplace inserts burn cleaner and more efficiently and produce less smoke than masonry fireplaces, their flue pipes still need regular attention. Remember: wood smoke = creosote, so your insert venting should be cleaned and inspected about once a year, just like with a masonry fireplace.
Zero-clearance (ZC) fireplaces that burn wood will also cause creosote and soot to build up in their vent pipes. Like fireplace inserts, ZC fireplaces burn very clean and efficiently, but an eventual buildup of flammable creosote in the pipe is unavoidable.
Wood-burning heating stoves need regular stovepipe cleaning and inspection to keep them running safely and efficiently. As with other wood-burning appliances, the more use the appliance gets, the more often the vent system will need cleaning.
Gas heating appliances don’t cause creosote buildups, but their venting systems should not be neglected. One of the main concerns with venting a gas fireplace, stove, insert or log set is drafting obstructions inside the vent pipe that could send deadly carbon monoxide (CO) into your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and invisible gas, and it’s known to be potentially fatal to humans and animals. Annual inspection and cleaning of your gas appliance vent pipe is recommended. Also, remember to have working CO monitors in your home at all times.
With all home heating appliances, professional inspections should be performed once a year (or on an agreed-upon schedule) just to make sure the unit and its components are in good repair. With regular inspections, you’re able to spot damage early and get it fixed fast before a dangerous and expensive issue exists.
Certified inspections can cover many areas including:
General check to ensure that the unit was installed properly
and much more.
A1 Chimney Specialist of Winchester, TN, and Huntsville, AL, takes great pride in helping our customers keep their fireplaces and stoves running at peak efficiency and safety all winter long. We provide CSIA-certified chimney sweep, inspection, repair, rebuilding and installation services.
Get your questions answered, or schedule an appointment with an expert by calling (931) 967-3595 in the Winchester area or (256) 285-4895 in and around Huntsville.