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Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget the Chimney Sweep.

Adding chimney sweeping to your spring cleaning list is a good way to remember this very important chimney maintenance task that should be performed once a year.

Ye Olde Brit Chimney Sweep of San Bernardino, CA, would like to cover the two main reasons to schedule annual chimney sweeping.

chimney sweeping in Yucaipa CAChimney sweeping 101

Chimney sweeping is the process of cleaning built-up creosote and debris out of the chimney flue. Professional chimney sweeps use special rods, whips, brushes, solvents and commercial-grade vacuums to accomplish this job.

Reason #1 to clean your chimney: creosote

Creosote builds up in the chimney flue every time you use your fireplace. Highly flammable and volatile, creosote can easily ignite and start a chimney fire – even when it’s only present in small amounts.

Most reported chimney fires each year in the U.S. are started by creosote. And what most people don’t realize is that many chimney fires are small and of short duration, starting and then going out before they’re even noticed. Yet all sizes of chimney fires can cause damage to the chimney and possibly to adjacent materials of the home.

Chimney fire signals

Watch for these signals during active fireplace use:

  • A strange tapping or clicking sound in the chimney
  • A rumbling sound, like from a distant train
  • Charred pieces falling into the firebox
  • Particularly dark and dense smoke coming from either end of the chimney

If you notice any of these signals, call 911 and put out the fire in the fireplace only if it’s safe to do so.

Reason #2 to clean your chimney: flue obstructions

If you operate your chimney without a chimney cap (covering), all types of debris can enter the flue. The primary concerns are leaves and twigs from nearby trees. Small animals also like to get into chimneys for shelter and to have their babies. Birds, squirrels, racoons, rodents and others can cause big problems.

Debris and small animal nests (and the bodies of animals that die in the flue, unable to escape) create drafting obstructions. When chimneys are built, they’re sized to draft the specific fireplace they’re being connected to. When the flue narrows, drafting is impeded.

Problems caused by flue obstructions

  • Smoke backing up into the home
  • Invisible and deadly carbon monoxide entering the home’s air
  • Logs taking longer to ignite due to a lack of air flow
  • Fires burning sluggishly and incompletely, leading to excess smoke and carbon monoxide production

Chimney sweep and chimney inspection

Chimney cleaning and a licensed inspection should happen at the same time. Your inspector can find out a lot of things about your chimney that you either can’t see or might have missed.

Annual basic chimney inspections cover:

  • Chimney cap or flue cover (if you don’t have one, your inspector can install one)
  • Concrete chimney crown
  • Masonry bricks and mortar
  • Chimney flashing
  • Chimney liner
  • Fireplace damper

and other parts and components.

annual cleaning in spring in San Bernardino, CAChimney cleaning and spring cleaning

If it’s been more than a year since your chimney was cleaned and inspected, make it one of your spring cleaning tasks this season.

Ye Olde Brit has been helping Southern California homeowners keep their chimneys clean and safe for more than 30 years. We can help you, too.

Call us at (909) 880-2120, or use our handy contact form.

Please Choose a Certified Chimney Sweep!

We hold the designation of Certified Chimney Professional (CCP)
We are GSCSG (Golden State Chimney Sweep Guild) Certified
We’re also proud members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG)
Trust a State Licensed Contractor (#775386)
We’re here to help with all your chimney repair