How to determine whether chimney needs cleaning?

clc06477February 8, 2005

How do I know whether my chimney needs to be cleaned? My fireplace hasn't been used in years but I would like to use it. Last year I hired a chimney cleaner to clean my furnace flue and it didn't work out too well--he broke a water pipe on my furnace, left soot all over the floor and then my furnace man said he hadn't even cleaned the flue, so I am reluctant to get another chimney cleaner if I don't need one. (How do I find a good chimney cleaner would be the next question.) Thanks.

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If you have not had your chimney swept in a while, it would be a good idea to do it before you start using your fireplace. Chimney Sweeps can be certified, although the name of the organizaion escapes me at the monemt. If you have access to your roof, you can simply remove the cap, look down the chimney with a good flashlight, and check inside for any build-up of creosote. You should open the damper above the firebox first so you can see thru. Looking down the chimney, you should see the smooth surface of the clay liners plus mortar between the joints of the liner sections. There should be no build-up or obstructions (bird nests, dead squirrels, etc.)

The previous owners of my house had their chimney swept every year. I went thru 4 burning seasons before I called a sweep and the chimney was very clean. I use only seasoned hardwood and burn hot fires.

If you get a Sweep, it would be a good idea to lay some old sheets all around the fireplace area. They clean the chimney from the inside as well as from the roof so it can get mighty messy.

I paid $60 (including a $20 coupon from the Yellow Pages) and live in Baltimore.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 1:13PM
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If you look up inside the fireplace and can scrape off more than 1/4 inch of soot, it needs to be cleaned.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 4:57PM
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Another way to find a good sweep, call an upscale, long-established fireplace shop in your town. they should have sweeps that they recommend for their jobs whose names they can give to you. This is how I got my sweep, and I was pleased with the job done.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 9:06PM
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Nobody bumped the thread and it's on the first page... Twilight Zoney :)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:32PM
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