Chimneys should be inspected annually and cleaned as needed per National Fireplace Codes (NFPA-211). This section covers the chimney cleaning procedures that Chimney Doctors uses on a regular basis.
Also known as chimney cleanings, fireplace sweeps, or fireplace cleanings. Fireplace chimney sweeps are primarily for integrity purposes, cleaning, and obstruction free assurance. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) code 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” Annual inspection with a fireplace chimney sweep as required. This is the National safety standard!
Each home heating appliance is dependent on a chimney and/or venting system that functions properly. If the chimney does not work as designed, the heating system will not perform as it should – or could. This situation has the potential to result in serious damage to the home and it’s surrounding. It can also pose risk to the health and safety of the family living inside the house.
That is why Wisconsin has adopted the National Fire and Protection Codes and regulations. Chapter 10-2 states chimneys shall be inspected on a yearly basis and repairs or cleanings done as necessary.
Usually if you burn a half of a cord of wood or more in a season your chimney will be in need of a yearly cleaning.
The occupation of chimney sweep is considered to be one of the oldest in the world, as chimneys have been around since ancient times, though it is only in the last two hundred years that the chimney has grown large enough to hold a man, giving rise to the image of the chimney sweep as it developed in the time of the Industrial Revolution. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Western Europe, construction of roof lines with crow-stepped gables became common to allow chimney sweeps convenient access to the chimney top. With the increased urban population that came with the Age of Industrialization, the number of houses with chimneys grew apace and the occupation of chimney sweep became much sought-after. It was also one of the more commonly difficult, hazardous, and low-paying occupations of the era, and consequently has been derided in verse, ballad and pantomime. However, once modern heating technologies became more available, the occupation became romanticized in popular media and literature.
**** An Important Note To The Gas Heating Homeowner****
Many homeowners are under the impression that if they have a gas heating system there is no longer a need for chimney maintenance. It is true that it will not need to be cleaned like the wood burning system, but inspections every 2-3 years are highly recommended to make sure these systems are venting properly and to insure that there are not any cracks, deterioration or blockage that may cause hazardous gas to back up into your home unnoticed.
What To Expect From Your Chimney Technician…
- When the technician arrives he will perform a preliminary chimney safety inspection to determine if you need a chimney cleaning – rather than just automatically cleaning it.
- Then he will make sure everything is in proper working order, that the chimney is structurally sound, that there are not any cracks, clogs, deterioration, or safety hazards. He will inspect the smoke chamber and the damper, then check the ash dump and pipes of the furnace.
- He will do a rooftop inspection to check the upper condition of the chimney, examining the mortar joints and the inside of the flue. He will check the flashing and concrete and/or chimney cap.
A video scan will be done so that he can get a better look and show you exactly what is going on inside your chimney.
- If the chimney is ready for a cleaning and you want it cleaned, he will lay out tarps and setup a sweep vacuum at the bottom of the chimney to collect the dust and debris… Chimney Doctors offers a No Mess Guarantee!
- If you are in need of a chimney cap or minors repairs, the technician will usually be able to take care of that at the time of the cleaning.
What does it mean when a Chimney needs to be repaired? There are different ways a chimney can be broken. This is identified by a crack that goes all the way around the chimney. It is verified with a high tech chimney camera that is carefully inserted into the chimney confirming that the break is all the way through at the same level on the inside of the chimney. The most common place for a chimney to break is at the roof line, however the break could be at the attic level or in the middle and sometimes the break occurs right at the base of the chimney. When a chimney breaks it presents risks and potential liabilities that necessitate repair. For example, a chimney broken at the roof line is not only a fire hazard as it can no longer be counted upon 100% of the time to contain the heat, smoke and ash generated by a fire. It is also a structural liability.