Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some of the frequently asked questions we usually encounter from our customers. 

Why should I have my chimney inspected?

The National Fire Protection states that chimneys should be cleaned or inspected annually. The chimney system is quite complex, and an inspection report can provide a warning before it becomes a major problem.

Many times, homeowners are not aware of the problems that may exist. Generally, there are three levels of chimney inspections that can be done depending on each individual case. That’s why it is always best to schedule your inspection and cleaning in the late summer or early fall before you start using your chimney during the heating season. 

At American Chimney Cleaning, several of our customers request a regular inspection of their chimneys. Another important time to schedule a chimney inspection is if you have changed to a new furnace or recently purchased a house and want to be sure of the chimney system’s condition.

What is Creosote? Why is it dangerous?

When a chimney cleaning company inspects your chimney, they look for a number of potential signs of damage to the inside of the chimney or the outer structure. Primarily, they want to look for and clean creosote.

Creosote is a tar-like substance that accumulates within the chimney after you burn wood. It combines with soot and becomes highly flammable. When creosote buildup is high, a chimney cleaning company may tell you that your fireplace is unsafe to use until the problem is resolved. 

What does a chimney cleaning company do?

Obviously, a chimney cleaning company cleans chimneys. However, a qualified chimney cleaning company will do more than just cleaning your chimney. A certified chimney cleaning company offers three levels of service. These service levels indicate the depth of the inspection.

  •     Level 1 offers basic services and inspection to readily accessible areas
  •     Level 2 provides additional checking of chimney conditions and interior flues. It also includes checking some hard-to-reach spots such as crawl spaces and attics.
  •     Level 3 includes inspection of those areas that have been enclosed. 

How often should the chimney be cleaned?

The National Fire Protection Association states that chimney systems should be cleaned annually. Even if you only use the chimney once or twice a year, a chimney fire is simply not worth the risk. Get a thorough inspection and cleaning of your chimney before winter, and check for any repairs early in the year. 

How long does chimney cleaning usually take?

We do not rush our chimney cleaning because we want to provide a complete cleaning experience. Many of our chimney cleanings also include time to do a top to bottom, inside and outside level one inspection as well, so time on those appointments varies. Usually, chimney cleaning alone should be done in an hour.

Can I just use chemical cleaners or chimney sweep logs?

Chemical cleaners and chimney sweep logs can be useful tools to reduce creosote buildup in the chimney. However, you should only use cleaners and logs that have been approved by the Chimney Sweep Institute of America. 

When in doubt about what to use, contact American Chimney Cleaning for advice. It’s extremely important to note that chemical cleaners and sweep logs do not replace an annual sweep and inspection. They are only supplemental.

How can chimney cleaning help me to maintain a safe home?

The cost of chimney cleaning or inspection is insignificant compared with the potential devastation that a chimney fire or carbon monoxide poisoning can cause. There is no doubt that regular chimney maintenance has saved many lives and billions in property damage. 

What type of wood is best or safest to burn?

Not all woods are the same. Reduce the buildup of dangerous creosote in your chimney by burning only quality, seasoned hardwood firewood.

What is Chimney Relining?

Traditionally, masonry chimneys had clay tiles that covered the inside of the chimney. These tiles were designed to seal the chimney structure and direct all heat, gases, and particles up and out of your home. 

However, over time, the tiles crack or break due to weathering, heat and freeze cycles, and other factors. Once the break-down starts, your chimney can become dangerous to use and can require a new lining. 

There are many solutions to chimney relining. The most popular is using a stainless-steel liner being installed in the chimney space from top to bottom. This flue can also be insulated to increase efficiency and needs to be fitted properly to the chimney using flexible or rigid flue piping.  

Aren’t all chimney cleaning companies the same?

The answer is no. Not every chimney cleaning company has the knowledge to provide quality service. Since the chimney sweep industry is not yet regulated, anyone can start a business and call themselves a sweep. 

Keep in mind that a chimney cleaning company should help keep your family and home safe. So as you choose your chimney cleaning company, make sure that they have the expertise to get the job done right.