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Signs It’s Time To Clean Your Chimney

When was the last time you cleaned your chimney? If you don’t clean your chimney on a regular basis, it can result in creosote buildup, which is a major fire hazard. However, it can be difficult to know exactly when your chimney should be cleaned. Here are some of the signs that indicate you’re due for a cleaning.

chimney cleaning experts, sewanee TNSmoke Backup

One of the biggest signs that you’re in need of a cleaning is smoke backing up into your home when you use the fireplace. This usually means that something is blocking the chimney and preventing smoke from escaping properly. This can happen as a result of extreme creosote buildup, but it can also happen if debris or even animals have made their way in through the top of your chimney. This is a major fire hazard, so avoid using your fireplace until you can schedule a cleaning.

Unusual Smells

Another sign that you’re due for a cleaning is an unusual odor coming from your fireplace. While fires do create a mild smell, if you notice an odor that is intensely smoky or unpleasant, it could be indicative of creosote buildup. You might even notice this smell when you aren’t using your chimney.

Inability To Start A Fire

If you’re having trouble starting a fire using your normal methods, this could be indicative of creosote buildup. Fires need airflow in order to burn steadily, but creosote and debris can block this airflow in your chimney. This lack of airflow could be dangerous, so this likely means it’s time to call a professional.

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Creosote takes time to build up a thick layer and harden. Layers of black soot can start to form in your chimney as a precursor to creosote. Over time, the soot will harden into thick, black flakes of creosote, which may fall out of your chimney into your fireplace. Not only is creosote a fire hazard, but it can also damage the structure of your chimney if it isn’t removed.

Grease Spots

Another common indicator of creosote buildup is grease spots on the inside of your fireplace. These spots typically have a black, smudgy look and aren’t easy to remove with normal cleaning methods.


If you notice any of these signs, it’s an indication that it’s time to schedule a chimney cleaning. Have your chimney cleaned by professional chimney sweeps at least once per year, typically during the summer or fall, before the weather cools off.

Not only do cleanings remove any creosote buildup present in your chimney, but it also gives your chimney professional a chance to look for bigger structural issues that might be present in your home. This gives you time to address any chimney issues before they get out of control.

If you’re in need of a chimney cleaning in southern middle Tennessee or the Tennessee Valley, A1 Chimney Specialists can help. In Tennessee, give us a call at (931)-967-3595 or in Alabama (256)-285-4895 in Alabama to schedule an appointment today.