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How Often Should Chimneys Be Cleaned?

chimney service in Magnolia texasHow often should chimneys be cleaned is one of our most frequently asked questions. Your chimney is a vital safety device designed to help prevent smoke and toxic contaminants from filling up inside your home. While the chimney and flue liner are built to last for years, it is often open to the outside world. So even if your fireplace is rarely used, small animals, rodents, dust and debris from the environment can build up and eventually clog the chimney. This could prevent the escape of dangerous fumes and cause carbon dioxide poisoning in your home.

So how often should you clean the chimney? Well, that depends to some extent on how often your fireplace is used. This is because whenever your burn wood, oil or other fossil fuels, a small amount of creosote and soot is deposited inside the chimney. They are natural by-products of the combustion process. Creosote’s flammability makes it especially dangerous. When soot combines with ash it too becomes more flammable. Also, some fuels like low quality oils and treated woods create more soot and creosote than others and should be avoided.

If the creosote and ash becomes too thick the burning embers from the wood can spark a fire in the chimney. In fact, more than 30 percent of all house fires between 2009 and 2013 occurred in the chimney, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Failure to keep clean was cited as the main cause in 30 percent of the cases.

chimney sweep chimney repairs in houston, the woodlands, spring txYou should expect to have a professional chimney cleaning at least once per year with normal use of a few hours per day or less. Using the fireplace more frequently or if there are multiple heating appliances in the home will require additional cleaning at least every six months. Regardless, you should get in the habit of always looking inside the chimney before lighting the fireplace. Whenever you notice more black stuff than brick or flue inside the chimney, or can’t remember the last time it was cleaned, it’s time for a professional chimney cleaning.

Chimney cleaning is a safety issue and should only be done by a National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) or Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep. This is your assurance that the chimney sweep has the knowledge and training to safely and properly clean your chimney. Chimney cleaning is a manual process that takes about one hour or so to complete from top to bottom. In addition to scrubbing the chimney, the chimney sweep will use an industrial vacuum to remove ash and other debris. The smoke shelf and damper are also thoroughly cleaned. The chimney sweep takes great care in ensuring that dust and debris from the cleaning process do not enter the home. 

Guardian Chimney Sweep
Houston, Texas / Conroe, Texas
Houston: (713) 401-2011
Conroe: (936) 271-9781