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Question DetailsAsked on 10/19/2013

How often should you have your fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected?

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3 Answers


The National Fire Protection Association suggests that you have your chimney inspected annually to determine the need for sweeping.

Most factory built fireplace manufacturers state that 1/8" of accumulated soot/creosote can constitute the risk for ignition. 25 to 30 fires may accumulate that level of creosote. The key to reduced build up of soot and creosote is good DRY wood! Hotter fire means more complete rate of combustion...less unburned carbon and moisture to condensate within the chimney system. Wood stove users should follow the manufacturer installation instructions for use in masonry chimneys and be fully connected with insulated liner. Also follow the MFG instructions for use and cleaning recommendations.

Gas logs can produce soot also that should be removed periodically usually during service of the log set as needed.

Inspections should be done as part of any routine sweep, sale or transfer of property, change of appliance or efficiency, or after some sort of damage, occurance, of eventYour local experienced sweep should be able to help you know what type or level of inspection your system needs.

Hope this helps.

David Lamm

The Classic Chimney Sweep


Answered 6 years ago by David Lamm


Mr Lamm made some excellent points, one I would like to amplify on - in the old days chimneys were brick with a foot or more of brick around the flue, and fires tended to burn all day or at least most of the day for heat - so the flue stayed good and hot and did not accumulate as much creosote (which condenses on the colder flue as the gases rise above the firebox and cool below about 150-250 degrees), and the chimney could also commonly survive a pretty good creosote fire because of the thickness of fireproof material.

With modern factory-built chimneys, the flue is generally stainless steel pipe surrounded with air, which cools the flue gases faster (so faster and thicker creosote accumulation), the fires tend to be campfire rather than home heating size so the flue is not a hot, and the flue is just a couple of layers of thin stainless steel which cannot always take the extreme heat and distorting temperature differences of a creosote fire. Also, if the flue pipe leaks flame, it is rarely surrounded with a foot or so of fireproof material - instead, it is surrounded with wood (typically only 6 inches or so away), hence even if the flue pipe does not rupture, just the radiated heat from a 1000-2000 degree flue pipe can set fire to the surrounding wood.

Another point - the greener or wetter the wood, the more artificial "Presto-Log" type products you burn, and the shorter the fire burning duration, the more creosote you will build up.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


The national fire protection Association, is a recognized adopted standard, and 211 states that every chimney shall be inspected annually and cleaned if necessary.

It also states that a level II inspection shall be done with the sale,or transfer of the property.

Hiring the proper professional is of utmost importance. Anyone can look with a mirror into a thimble and look at the chimney and say that it is clear. The idea is to have diagnostic equipment, such as a video scanning equipment, to put into the chimney flue from the top all the way to the bottom of the chimney, to see what is actually going on. The forms of deterioration can be accelerated with change of fuels, upgrading of a more efficient appliance, or simply lack of rain protection for many years. Get your chimney inspected!


Answered 6 years ago by Guest_9017570

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