Chimney Sweep & Fireplace Service
Our chimney cleaning service starts with a level 1 NFPA inspection. If a chimney and attached appliance is in need of cleaning we will setup a clean zone by laying down protective drop clothes and seal off the firebox to eliminate any airborne exposure. We will brush the chimney flue or stove pipe, remove the damper and clean the smoke chamber, smoke shelf, and firebox. We utilize a three stage vacuum to remove the soot, fine ash, and creosote from the heating appliance. We will clean the glass, and check all gaskets for tightness. After all components are cleaned we then perform a second level 1 NFPA inspection service and provide a report with our findings.
Q. How often should I have my chimney cleaned?
This a tougher question than it sounds. The simple answer is: The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, "Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary." This is the national safety standard and is the correct way to approach the problem. It takes into account the fact that even if you don't use your chimney much, animals may build nests in the flue or there may be other types of deterioration that could make the chimney unsafe to use.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be cleaned at 1/8" of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system. Factory-built fireplaces should be cleaned when any appreciable buildup occurs. This is considered to be enough fuel buildup to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home.
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What is Creosote?
By definition creosote is a combustible deposit that originates from condensed wood smoke. It includes tar, vapors, and other organic compounds. It’s a natural by-product of burning wood. Creosote formation ranges in severity from stage 1 to Stage 3. It can be in a sooty or ash like state (Stage 1), dry friable honeycombs or crunchy flakes (Stage 2), or a sticky dense hard shiny black tar glaze (Stage 3). Several variables affect the amount of build-up deposited in the wood heating system are smoke density, flue gas temperature, and residence time. Stage 1 and stage 2 creosotes are mechanically removed during chimney brushing. Stage 3 glaze creosote however must be chemically modified to be removed and requires the application of a powder or spray magnesium based catalysts to convert the glaze back to a Stage 1 or Stage 2 brushable format. We offer professional strength creosote modifiers and consumer level creosote modifiers to aid in the removal of Stage 3 glaze creosote.
Typically, homeowners who heat with wood as a primary heat source will need to clean their systems once every two months (during the heating season), while occasional recreational use may only require cleaning once every few years.
The 4 Stages of Creosote Breakdown Using Cre-Away
Several times each year we a called during or after a chimney fire occurs. We do offer 24 hour emergency services to clear completely obstructed chimneys and blocked flues. Chemical modification of glaze and flue obstructions are the result of poor maintenance or improperly installed appliances and are not included in our standard cleaning fees. I have removed 185 lbs of creosote from a single chimney cleaning (This is not a standard service)!
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Q. I heat with gas. Should this chimney be checked too?
Without a doubt! Although gas is generally a clean burning fuel, the chimney can become non-functional from bird nests or other debris blocking the flue. Modern furnaces can also cause many problems with the average flues intended to vent the older generation of furnaces. We suggest you check the areas on gas and carbon monoxide for more information.
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