Chimney FAQ - Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
How long should it take for a Chimney Sweep to service my chimney? For most chimneys, a good and thorough chimney sweep and inspection typically takes around 45 to 60 minutes per flue. During this process, our professional sweep will not only clean the smoke chamber and firebox but also perform a comprehensive sweep of the flue from top to bottom. It is important to note that if someone claims they can swiftly clean your chimney in just 15 minutes at an unbelievably low price, you should carefully consider if this kind of service meets your expectations for ensuring the safety of your home and family. At Chim Chimney, our sweep and inspection services cover every aspect from the firebox to the cap. Additionally, we offer a closed-circuit camera scan (subject to flue size and access) that allows us to visually examine the interior of the flue from top to bottom. This thorough examination helps us determine if the flue is free from any defects and functioning properly, ultimately ensuring the safety of your family. In the event that any defects are discovered, our technician will make a note of them, and before leaving, you will receive a comprehensive written report along with an estimate for any necessary repairs or maintenance
I have proposals from several chimney sweeps, why are the prices so different? When it comes to chimney sweeping, prices for projects can vary significantly due to several factors. As you evaluate different proposals and their corresponding prices, here are some key points to consider: Consistency of proposed solutions: Ensure that all the proposals are recommending the same solutions. For instance, if your chimney is experiencing leaks, confirm whether the proposals suggest a temporary "patch job" or a comprehensive rebuild to address the underlying issues. Quality of materials: Assess the materials being used by the contractor. Are they utilizing the appropriate materials for your specific fireplace, furnace, wood-burning stove, or other appliances? It's crucial to verify if the liners are the correct size and if they are UL approved. Contractor's credentials: Verify if the contractor is fully licensed and insured. This is essential to ensure their professionalism and protection against any liabilities. Work guarantee and warranties: Inquire about the contractor's work guarantee and the warranties they offer. Understanding their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is vital. For quotes, questions, or additional information, please feel free to contact us at Chim Chimney Inc. via phone at 615-364-8987.
Why do I need a chimney cap? Chimney caps play a crucial role in various aspects, including: Protection against the elements: By installing a chimney cap, you effectively shield your chimney from rain and snow. This safeguard prevents moisture from seeping into the chimney, which can lead to costly damages such as rusting of the damper and firebox. When moisture combines with the sulfur-laden soot already present in the chimney, it forms sulfuric acid. This corrosive substance attacks the inner walls of the flue and mortar joints, necessitating expensive repairs. Prevention of bird and animal entry: Chimney caps act as a barrier, effectively stopping birds, bats, squirrels, and other animals from entering the chimney. These creatures sometimes build nests, obstructing the chimney's airflow. This blockage could potentially result in carbon monoxide leaking into the home, posing a serious safety hazard. Downdraft discouragement: In certain wind conditions, a chimney cap can help deter downdrafts. By installing a cap, you create a barrier that minimizes the likelihood of draft reversal, ensuring the smoke and gases are directed out of the chimney. Spark arrestor function: The inclusion of a wire mesh in the chimney cap serves as a spark arrestor. This mesh reduces the quantity of sparks and large ash that would typically be blown into the air and onto rooftops. This feature significantly lowers the risk of a roof catching fire due to these airborne particles.
Why does my fireplace smell? The fireplace in your home typically has a slight odor, but under normal conditions, the draft carries the smell up the flue and out of your house. However, if you notice the smell of your fireplace inside your home, it means that outside air is being drawn into your house. As a general guideline, if you haven't had a chimney sweeping recently, it is likely time to schedule one. The presence of soot buildup in the chimney can intensify odor issues. It's important to note that sweeping alone is the initial step and may not eliminate the embedded creosote that has permeated the fireplace's masonry. Creosote, especially when damp, emits a potent and unpleasant odor. Fireplace odor is primarily caused by water penetration and negative pressure within the house. Therefore, the next step is to ensure that your chimney has a properly fitted chimney cap installed at its top and that the masonry exterior is somewhat resistant to water. Taking measures such as cleaning the chimney through sweeping or creosote removal, addressing water penetration, and installing a chimney cap can help alleviate some odor problems. In certain cases, the issue may be related to negative pressure within the house or a suction effect drawing outside air in, even when the damper and glass doors are closed. This situation often arises during wet and hot seasons following significant weatherization or modifications to ventilation systems. Upgrades such as new furnaces, skylights, kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, windows, and roofing can alter the interior pressure from positive to negative. All the air that is forced out or exhausted from your home needs to be replaced with makeup or replacement air. This replacement air enters the house through the "path of least resistance," similar to the flow of water or electricity. It is easier for replacement air to enter through a chimney flue, which is already cooler than the interior of the house, rather than through the usual openings. Fortunately, all these factors can be addressed and corrected.
My fireplace is smoky. Why is that? There can be various factors contributing to the issue, and it may require the expertise of our experienced sweeps to identify the root cause. However, here are a few straightforward suggestions you can try: Ensure the damper is fully open: While it may seem obvious, double-check that the damper is completely open. Use a flashlight to verify its position. Sometimes, it may not be fully open even if it appears so at first glance. Burn the fire at the far rear of the firebox: Many fireplaces function optimally when the fire is positioned at the far rear of the firebox rather than in the center. Adjusting the placement of the logs can make a significant difference. For more detailed information regarding chimneys and chimney sweeping in Tennessee, please don't hesitate to contact us at Chim Chimney Inc. Our team can be reached at 615-364-8987.
How often does my dryer vent need to be cleaned? We recommend that your dryer vent system be cleaned annually. This can vary based on the amount of laundry that you dry. If at any point your dryer becomes less efficient, taking more than one cycle to dry, you should schedule an appointment to have them cleaned and inspected.
What is creosote? Creosote is a substance that forms as a result of incomplete combustion of wood or fossil fuels in your fireplace or chimney. It is a dark, sticky, and highly flammable residue that can accumulate over time. Creosote is composed of various by-products, including tar, soot, and other organic compounds. As smoke rises through the chimney, it cools down and condenses, causing the creosote to adhere to the inner walls of the flue. Over multiple uses, this residue can build up and create layers of creosote, ranging from a flaky or crusty texture to a thick, tar-like substance. Creosote poses a significant fire hazard as it is highly combustible. It can ignite easily and lead to chimney fires, which can cause extensive damage to the chimney structure and potentially spread to the rest of the house. Regular chimney maintenance, including professional chimney sweeping, is crucial to remove the dangerous buildup of creosote and reduce the risk of chimney fires. Properly managing creosote buildup helps ensure the safe operation of your fireplace and chimney, protecting both your home and your family.
What type of wood is best to burn? The best wood to burn in a fireplace is seasoned hardwood. Seasoned hardwood refers to wood that has been properly dried for an extended period, typically for at least six months to a year. It has a lower moisture content, which allows for cleaner and more efficient combustion. Some common types of hardwood that are considered excellent for burning in fireplaces include oak, maple, ash, birch, and beech. These hardwoods produce a high heat output, burn steadily, and create long-lasting coals. It is important to avoid burning softwoods such as pine or spruce in a fireplace. Softwoods tend to contain higher amounts of sap, which can result in more creosote buildup and increased risk of chimney fires. Remember to always use dry, well-seasoned wood and follow proper safety guidelines when operating a fireplace. Additionally, local regulations or environmental considerations may dictate specific guidelines for the type of wood that can be burned in your area.
How often does my chimney need to be inspected or swept? The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends an annual chimney inspection and sweeping as necessary. By hiring a certified chimney sweep, you can rely on their expertise to assess the condition of your chimney and determine if it requires cleaning based on the amount of soot buildup and debris present in the flue. If you would like more information about chimneys and chimney sweeping in Tennessee, please don't hesitate to contact us at Chim Chimney Inc. You can reach us at 615-364-8987. Our team will be happy to assist you with any inquiries you may have.