Monthly Archives: March 2019

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Clean Your Chimney?

Upmarket living room interior with a blazing fire, recessed overhead lighting, modular comfortable sofas and a trophy mounted on the chimney alongside a glass patio door

How Much Does It Cost to Have Your Chimney Swept?

Do you have a fireplace in your home? If you do and use it with some measure of frequency, you’re going to want to acquire some basic maintenance skills. Treating this important foundation structure properly is key to house maintenance. According to a survey of almost fifteen thousand nationwide homeowners, the average chimney sweep cost is approximately $228. This average is based on an average of numbers, with the price vacillating between $125 and $332.

If you have a wood fireplace, it is highly advisable that you keep regular maintenance. Build-up from years of neglect could total as much as $800. While using a wood-burning fireplace in the winter can lower your electric bills, smoke in the stack leaves remnants of ash and carbon residue. This residue needs to be extracted at least annually because it can lead to chimney fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and a troubling lack of airflow.

Is it Safe to Clean Your Own Chimney?

When safety precautions have been put in place, and with a repertoire of handy knowledge, a safe cleaning can be accomplished. It is advisable to clean your chimney in the fall, before the burning season begins. Whether or not you choose to undertake chimney cleaning in Bridgewater, NJ yourself is ultimately up to you. There are a series of considerations to take under advisement. First of all, never clean your chimney with an active fire. The chimney should be cool, and no fire should be present. Also, wear protective eye and mouth gear, such as a dust mask. This is because you do not want to breath in these pollutants. DRX Duct Cleaning has the correct tools to get this job completed successfully.

Do Chimney Sweeping Logs Really Work?

Creosote is the name of the filmy residue that is deposited in a flue by burning wood. When a sweep commences, creosote is the substance that needs to be removed. Creosote is a huge fire risk. Creosote sweeping logs are available on the shelves of many big-box stores. You may be wondering, as a consumer, if these logs really work. The verdict is in: yes, creosote logs work, but only up to a point. Creosote sweeping logs dry up the creosote in the fireplace. Once the creosote dries up, soot particles naturally fall into the fireplace. Burning a creosote log makes the next fire safer, and the next chimney sweeping easier.

Modern living room with fireplace and a view to the coast

How Often Should You Sweep Your Chimney?

this really depends on how often you use your chimney. The job of the chimney sweeper is to remove soot, built up creosote from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper. Even if you only have minimal use of your fireplace, you should get an annual chimney inspection to make sure that all your systems are in working order. The National Fire Protection Association states that, “fireplaces 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.”

The CSIA, Chimney Safety Institute of America, has a more specific requirement, stipulating that fireplaces should be cleaned when there is an eighth of an inch of soot build-up found.

Common Issues

While it may not seem necessary to clean your chimney often, expect the following issues if you don’t:

  • Birds, squirrels, and raccoons making your chimney a makeshift home.
  • Blockages caused by branches, leaves, and outside debris. These blockages can cause critical problems.
  • Creosote possibly igniting a fire in your chimney due to the presence of build up.

Once again, creosote is a dangerous substance containing a high percentage of soot. The first layer of creosote can be removed with a chimney brush. If your chimney catches on fire, it is not a stretch for that fire to spread to your home, and for further damage to occur.

Metal roofing practically eradicates the chance of your roof catching on fire. Consult with a local, trusted roofer to begin a conversation to see if you would benefit from a metal roof.

What is Your Chimney Made Of?

In order to find out what it’s made of, let’s first diagram what kind of fireplace you have. There are two main types of fireplaces – masonry fireplaces and factory built fireplaces. A masonry fireplace possesses a firebox built of individual, generally yellowish firebrick, with a brick chimney above the roof. A prefab, or factory built fireplace generally has a firebox of cast refractory panels and generally speaking there is some metal visible in the room around the firebox.

Masonry composites are primarily made of brick and mortar. They usually have some sort of internal liner to protect the flue from damage. In factory made chimneys, the flue is made completely out of metal, and resembles a pipe or tube. This liner can be made out of clay tiles, aluminum or steel, or a cast-in place material.

The Flue

A flue is a duct, pipe, or opening that conveys exhaust gases from a fireplace. Flues can also transmit gases from a furnace, water heater, boiler, or generator to the outdoors.

How Do I Clean My Liner?

Cleaning a liner is a time-consuming process, but can be done. The first thing you need to do is remove the rain cap. Next, you will select the proper size nylon, poly, or natural bristle chimney brush to clean the liner. You will need to make sure that the brush head passes throughout the complete length of the liner, including the connectors, terminals and tees. Next, you will need to connect the cleaning brush to the end of the cleaning rod. Insert the brush down the flue from the top of the chimney. Guide the chimney brush up and down the flue.

You will want to add more cleaning rods to extend further down the chimney. After sweeping, use a shovel to remove the ash and creosote that has fallen from the flue.

The Brush

When choosing a brush for your fireplace, be sure to select a brush that fits accordingly with the size and dimension of your fireplace. The material of a chimney brush is usually composed of metal wire or polypropylene, and will suit the masonry or factory built origin of your fireplace. For masonry chimneys, metal wire brushes will be the ideal instrument for chimney cleaning. Likewise, for factory built chimneys, polypropylene, which will not be too harsh on the metal liner.

If you live in the North Plainfield and Bridgewater, NJ area, consult the professionals at DRX DUCT LLC for all your chimney needs. Call today!