Everyone loves a fire in the hearth crackling on a frosty morning. Fireplaces, inserts and wood stoves are popular, particularly in autumn and winter, for the warmth and cozy atmosphere they bring to a home.
When wood is burned in a fireplace or wood burning unit smoke is generated and, if the chimney is working properly, the smoke is drawn up the chimney and into the outside air.
Particles in the smoke – called soot or creosote – are deposited on the inside of the chimney and fireplace. Creosote is flammable. When a sufficient amount builds up in a chimney, a fire hazard exists and the chimney needs to be cleaned.
Preventative maintenance is the key to eliminate the threat of a chimney fire! We are told – from clients who did NOT clean their chimneys in time – that a chimney fire sounds much like a jet landing on the roof. Part of this “roar” is from the rush of air up the chimney created by the fire’s demand for oxygen.
A dirty chimney may also not draw well. This causes smoke to drift or billow into the room when a fire is lit. Soot build-up, particularly right above the fireplace in an area called the “smoke shelf,” is the most common cause of a chimney not drawing properly. Another cause is improper construction. But if the fireplace worked well at one time but is now drawing poorly, you can assume a good cleaning will restore it to working order again.
How often should a chimney be cleaned?
“Have your chimney professionally checked once a year and cleaned when necessary “
– Saanich Fire Department
We recommend any wood burning flue that is in use to be cleaned every year. Fire departments strongly recommend annual inspection and cleaning. For oil chimneys, furnace or boiler, we also recommend yearly cleaning and inspection. Oil soot can clog a chimney or furnace causing it to malfunction. Also inspecting the chimney system will make sure it’s venting correctly. You don’t want a poisonous gas seepage into your house.
How do we clean the flues?
Being WETT certified we have the training to properly sweep your chimney, recognize problems and issues and conduct WETT inspections. (WETT stands for Wood Energy Technical Training.) It is the only chimney sweep training recognized by insurance companies.
Our sweeps will try to sweep the chimney from the roof but in certain circumstances we may decide to do a “push-up” from the bottom. It has the same effect but takes a little longer. We use wire, bladed and poly brushes to clean the different types of chimneys.
With fireplaces we clean up inside the smoke chamber and smoke shelf (where most of the time the damper rests) and of course the fire box, removing soot and ash.
With wood stoves or inserts we clean the inside of the unit, the baffle system, any smoke pipes that lead to the chimney as well as removing ash from the firebox and clean-out. We wash any glass doors and lube the hinges.
With oil flues we clean the smoke pipe that leads from the furnace to the chimney, the heat exchanger inside the furnace and the clean-out.
We also let you know what shape the chimney is in whether brick or metal, and suggest any improvements.
A WETT inspection is a thorough comprehensive inspection of your wood burning unit and it’s chimney. These inspections are often required for homeowners to receive insurance coverage on their unit. We provide a full report (with pictures, checklists and comments) and a letter for your insurance company. We also fill out any forms that your insurance company may require.