How to Tell if a Chimney Needs to be Cleaned

chimney from inside with ash buildup
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  • Beginner
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If you have a coal or wood-burning stove or a fireplace, you will need to do periodic chimney cleaning. While there’s nothing like a fire on a cold winter’s night to create an ambiance of warmth and coziness, the by-products include creosote and soot deposits in the inside of your chimney or flue pipe. This black, sticky layer of creosote is highly flammable if not removed; therefore, it is important to have a regular maintenance program for your chimney.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that a professional inspection of your chimney is performed once each year. The following questions will assist you in knowing whether or not its time to have your chimney cleaned:

1. Does the Fire Starts Too Slowly?

Are your fires starting very slowly or not burning brightly?

2. Is Smoke Filling the Room?

Is smoke filling the room when the fire is lit?

3. Is Smoke the Filling House?

When a door is opened to your house, and a fire is burning, does smoke fill the entire house?

4. Do You Detect Cold Air or Bad Odors?

When your stove or fireplace isn’t being used, do you feel a rush of cold air or bad odors emitting from your chimney?