Chimney Sweep

Chimney Maintenance Tips

A fireplace and chimney add a cozy touch to chilly winter evenings. However, they’re also exposed to the harsh elements and need Baltimore Chimney Repair. Without proper care, a chimney may experience structural damage or chimney fires. It can even leak water or release carbon monoxide, a toxic gas.

Chimney Maintenance

Chimney maintenance can help prevent these problems and keep your family safe. A professional can inspect the chimney’s interior and exterior to identify issues that homeowners may miss.

A chimney’s flashing isn’t as obvious as the bricks and flue itself, but it plays an important role. Located where the chimney meets the roof, it keeps moisture from entering the structure and damaging the roof or attic. Flashing is typically made of either steel, aluminum, or copper and can last up to 30 years under the right conditions.

During routine chimney maintenance, it’s a good idea to check on the flashing. If a leak is present, it can cause wood rot, ceiling damage, and other issues throughout the home.

If you notice stains on your ceiling near or above the fireplace, a chimney flashing leak may be present. This is a common problem that’s easy to miss, especially when the weather is wet. Rain damage from a leaky chimney can spread into the walls, ceiling, and attic, leading to expensive repairs.

Chimney flashing is composed of three pieces: the bottom base flashing, the lower cap flashing, and the top flashing. The bottom base flashing is a piece of metal that wraps around the chimney and the roof and is fastened with roofing nails or mortar. The lower cap flashing is a separate piece of metal that covers the base flashing and is also secured with mortar or roofing cement.

The top flashing is a single piece of metal that is bent to form a hem around the chimney and is also fastened with mortar or roofing cement. It’s important that the flashing has adequate overlapping to create a watertight barrier between the chimney and the roof.

Other flashing concerns include missing shingles that can allow moisture to enter, and animal or nest infestations. If you notice a sudden increase in bird or squirrel activity, or you discover raccoon or other animal droppings inside your chimney, it’s important to call a professional right away. These creatures can block smoke from venting out of your home and lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.

It’s always best to have a professional handle these issues, but you can help by regularly checking on your flashing. Use a ladder to carefully lift the shingles and examine the horizontal projection of the side base flashings. The flashing should extend down at least 4 inches on each side of the chimney. If the flashing is damaged, you’ll need to have it replaced.

The chimney flue is where your fireplace vents smoke outside. However, the incomplete byproducts of combustion, including carbon and sulfur, cling to the chimney walls, similar to tartar on teeth. If these deposits are not removed on a regular basis, they absorb moisture and start a deterioration process known as spalling and flaking that weakens the chimney masonry. Moisture can also cause water damage to the chimney chase, crown and wall surrounds if it leaks into these areas. Adding a waterproofing product to the chimney can help prevent this from happening and extend its life.

While it is possible to clean the chimney on your own, it’s a big job and requires proper tools and ladders that can be used safely. First, make sure to purchase a brush that matches your chimney’s size and shape. Some brushes are designed to be used on round and square chimneys, while others only work on one type of design. After purchasing your brush, gather all of the other necessary cleaning supplies, including a mask and safety glasses. You will also need a sturdy ladder to get to the roof. Next, remove the chimney cap and shine a flashlight into the flue to see if there is any damage or a black, flaky substance, known as creosote.

Once you have a good view of the chimney, use a rod to push the brush up through the flue and around the sides of the chimney. After making several passes with the brush and rod, it should become easier to move the brush, which is a sign that the creosote is beginning to break up. Continue this process until all of the walls of the flue are brushed.

When you’ve finished, reattach the chimney cap and reinstall the damper handle and firebox door. Be aware that sweeping the chimney will drop piles of flaky creosote onto the damper and into the firebox. You can minimize this by giving the chimney and firebox a few minutes to settle before using a shop vac to vacuum up the mess.

Chimney flues and utility flues should be cleaned at least once a year. If they are blocked or clogged, harmful gases such as carbon monoxide will not be vented to the outdoors and could leak into the home.

A chimney cap serves several important functions, including keeping birds, animals, rainwater, leaves and debris out of the flue. It can also prevent fire embers from escaping the fireplace and hitting your roof or home.

A cap can prevent soot and creosote from contaminating the interior of the chimney. This is particularly important if you are using green wood (unseasoned). Unseasoned wood has so much moisture in it that it can cause a lot of smoke and soot, and a large amount of the combustion byproducts build up in the chimney and on the grate and chimney cap screen.

If your chimney has a metal chimney cap, it should be inspected for signs of rust. Galvanized steel will rust over time, and the metal can then become detached from the chimney cap and the masonry of the chimney crown. When this happens, a lot of water and other materials can enter the chimney and damage it, leading to structural issues.

During your annual chimney inspection, we will inspect the chimney cap to ensure that it is secure and intact. We will look for any cracks, missing pieces, or gaps in the chimney structure. We will also check how tightly the chimney cap is secured to the structure. Some caps use set screws that can loosen over time, allowing the chimney cap to come off during a strong wind.

In addition to ensuring that the chimney is properly capped, we will look at the condition of the chimney crown and the smoke chamber. Chimney masonry is prone to damage from extreme weather conditions, especially in areas with cold winters and snow. The constant freeze-thaw cycle causes bricks and mortar to crack and crumble, which can lead to leaks and serious structural problems.

The deterioration of masonry can lead to costly repairs. Chimney lining is recommended to prevent deterioration of the chimney masonry due to acidic deposits from burning fuel. In addition, a chimney liner is necessary to protect the structure of the chimney from corrosion and other damage. If you notice any signs of deterioration, it is vital that you have the chimney repaired immediately.

The best way to prevent chimney problems is to schedule annual chimney inspections. These regular, visual examinations ensure that all components of the chimney and fireplace are in good condition, and that there are no blockages or obstructions preventing efficient airflow. They also help to identify potential structural damage, as well as deteriorating bricks and mortar.

The yearly chimney inspection is also the ideal time to make any necessary repairs or replacements. For example, a cracked or crumbling chimney can allow moisture to seep into the masonry, which leads to serious water damage inside the home. In addition, a leaking flue liner can cause toxic carbon monoxide to enter the home, and a damaged chimney cap can let birds and debris into the chimney.

Over time, even properly maintained chimneys deteriorate and experience damage. The combination of extreme heat, acidic creosote deposits and the constant exposure to rain wears away at the masonry and mortar. In addition, the flammable by-products of wood burning fires can burn through the liners and cause damage.

A professional chimney sweep can identify these and other issues during a routine chimney inspection. He will examine the lining, damper, smoke chamber and baffle and look for signs of water intrusion. He will survey other accessible parts of the chimney, including the attic and crawl space, and he may use a video scan of the interior of the flue.

Chimneys are engineered to eliminate harmful gases from a home or business, so it’s essential that they work efficiently. An overabundance of creosote and soot deposits can create dangerous obstructions that prevent proper venting of the by-products of combustion. A CSIA certified chimney technician can remove these obstructions to minimize the risk of a chimney fire and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A level 2 inspection is the most thorough and usually requires a professional to get on the roof and fully inspect the chimney from top to bottom. This is often required before selling a property, when a homeowner changes the type of fuel they are burning and after significant weather events like heavy storms, hurricanes or earthquakes. A level 3 inspection is typically reserved for situations in which a serious problem has been identified and needs more extensive investigation. This can require more substantial tools, and the chimney sweep may need to remove portions of the chimney or materials in the home like drywall to gain full access.

Chimney Sweep

The Importance of Chimney Cleaning

If you want a wood-burning fireplace, you’ll need your chimney regularly cleaned. Wood fires create a foul-smelling, gummy byproduct called creosote that can build up over time and cause a chimney fire.

Chimney Sweep

Chimney Cleaning Charleston removes combustive residue, dirt, & debris from the interior of your fireplace & flue system. This includes the chimney lining, the metal, clay, or concrete pipe that extends from your fireplace to the outdoors. A chimney technician will use brushes, rotating rods, scrapers, solvents, & high-powered vacuums to clean the chimney & flue lining.

This dangerous project requires a sturdy ladder, specialized tools, and safety gear. The most important safety precaution is wearing goggles that form a dependable seal around your eyes.

Chimneys & flues are a vital part of your home. They allow smoke, toxins, & dangerous fumes to escape and exit your home through the chimney instead of staying in your house. This is very important as carbon monoxide can build up if there are any blockages. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause death if inhaled too long. The simplest way to avoid carbon monoxide is by having your chimney cleaned on a regular basis.

You must hire a certified chimney sweep to perform the work. They should be licensed, insured, & have good references from past clients. A professional will also provide you with a comprehensive report of their findings. They will let you know if any repairs are needed, what the costs will be, & when they can be completed.

The chimney & flue are a critical ventilation system that allows smoke, toxins, & dangerous gases to escape from your fireplace, wood stove, or furnace. Periodic chimney sweeping removes the sticky, black, flammable substance called creosote. This is a major cause of chimney fires and can lead to a deadly chimney collapse or house fire. Chimney fires can also be caused by moisture that comes from condensation, soot, and rusty masonry. Chimney & flue cleaning can prevent these problems & keep you & your family safer.

Chimney & flue cleanings also ensure that toxins like carbon monoxide can properly exit your chimney. If the flue is blocked by creosote, ash, twigs, or other debris, carbon monoxide will build up inside your home & can be poisonous to your family. The toxins can cause dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, shortness of breath, & even death.


Having a fireplace provides your home with a comfortable and cozy ambiance. However, if your chimney is not regularly cleaned and inspected it can become a safety hazard for you and your family. Chimney fires caused by dirty flues can result in billions of dollars worth of property damage and personal injury each year. Chimney fires occur most often when creosote, a combustible byproduct of incomplete combustion, builds up in the chimney. Creosote is also highly toxic and can clog the chimney lining.

A professional chimney sweep uses specialized tools to safely clean your chimney. They use a special creosote brush and uncommon chemical cleansers to scrape all of the accumulated creosote off the inside of your chimney. They can also remove a layer of ceramic coating that protects the chimney from corrosive byproducts of incomplete combustion. During the chimney cleaning process, the professionals wear face masks and protective clothing. They will also set up plastic or drop cloths to protect your floors and walls. They will also use a dual HEPA filter vacuum to keep the dust levels low while they are working.

When they are finished, the sweep will carefully vacuum and sweeping the remainder of the debris that is left behind in your fireplace. Then, they will inspect the chimney for signs of cracks, gaps, masonry damage and other issues that could be a fire hazard. The sweep will then recommend any repairs needed to make your chimney safer and more efficient.

In addition, a professional chimney sweep can also remove any animals and birds that have made their home in your chimney. Keeping animals and birds out of your chimney is critical to ensure that they don’t bring in flammable twigs, branches and leaves. They can also help you create a bird or animal proof cap to keep unwanted critters out of your chimney.

Aside from being a fire hazard, a dirty chimney can be an air quality risk. It can trap noxious gases like carbon monoxide in your home and lead to health problems for you and your family. A properly functioning chimney will allow a draft to pull exhaust gases out of your home, but when creosote and soot block the flow of air, your living areas can become stuffy and unpleasant.

More Efficient

A chimney that is caked in creosote, soot, and other debris can be difficult to clean. When you hire a chimney sweep, they will use specialized tools to remove the dangerous deposits. They also know how to properly use ladders and other safety equipment. They may start at the flue opening or from the roof, depending on the location of the chimney and its build. Chimney sweeps have a variety of tarps, brushes, dual HEPA filter vacuums, and other equipment to protect your home and themselves.

When your chimney is cleaned regularly, the heat in your home will be more consistent. A clean chimney will prevent the toxins and smoke that are released from burning wood to escape through the chimney. This can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory issues for you and your family.

In addition, the creosote that builds up in your chimney will block the oxygen needed to burn wood effectively. When oxygen is limited, the fire will not burn efficiently and can produce carbon monoxide. This odorless, colorless gas is poisonous and can be deadly when too much of it in the air occurs. It is essential to install carbon monoxide detectors and have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Many people attempt to clean their own chimneys, but it is a messy and dangerous job that requires a lot of specialized tools and knowledge. It is advisable to leave the cleaning to professionals who have the appropriate experience and equipment to handle it safely. They will take safety precautions, like using tarps and drop cloths to protect your home and furniture. They will also use tools to clean the hard to reach areas of your chimney that you can’t access with a brush.

Creosote sweeping logs are marketed as an easy solution to chimney creosote, but they can’t replace regular professional cleaning. They may help to break up some of the easier stages of creosote, but they won’t remove the hardened stage two and three creosote that is so hazardous to fireplaces.

Less Smoke

Keeping your chimney clean will allow smoke to properly rise through the flue, rather than back into the house. Smoke that gets into the house can cause health problems, like irritated eyes and coughing. It can also cause damage to furniture and carpeting.

Chimneys that are clogged with creosote, ash, and debris impede the flow of air. This causes wood to burn less efficiently, resulting in smoky fires. In addition, chimneys that aren’t swept often produce carbon monoxide, or CO, which can poison the air and cause health problems.

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by fireplaces and some other heating appliances when they burn fossil fuel. It cannot be detected by smell or taste, but it can kill people and pets in minutes if inhaled. It reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen, which causes fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and shortness of breath. It can even be fatal if inhaled in large doses. A professional chimney sweep will examine the chimney to see if CO is entering the house, and can repair it before any damage occurs.

Getting your chimney cleaned will make it easier to use, as you won’t have to worry about smoke or odors. It will also allow you to enjoy a fire without worrying about the smoke damaging your house or causing health problems.

When you get your chimney professionally cleaned, a chimney sweep will remove the creosote, ash, debris, and other deposits from inside the chimney. They will also check the chimney lining and masonry for any cracks or other issues that need attention. They may also use a video camera to inspect the inside of your chimney and flue, which is more thorough than a visual inspection.

A professional chimney sweep will protect your home by covering the work area with plastic or drop cloths, and will use a dual HEPA filter vacuum to keep dust levels low while cleaning. Depending on the chimney, they may start at the fireplace and work their way up, or they might use a ladder to climb on the roof, and will work from there.