7 Signs Your Chimney Needs a Inspection & Cleaning

Keeping a chimney clean is critical for safety and efficiency. Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, would like to share seven of the most common signs that tell you it’s time to have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned.

Certified Chimney Sweep Technicians in Overland Park KS1. Chimney fires

Not all chimney fires are big, blazing events. Many start and go out on their own without being noticed by people in the house. Black stains around the top of the chimney are a clue that there’s been a chimney fire. An active chimney fire often involves:

  • Clicking or tapping noises
  • A rumbling sound like that of a distant train
  • Excess smoke coming from either end of the chimney

Studies show that the majority of chimney fires are caused by ignited creosote. This substance forms when smoke condenses in the flue, and it’s unavoidable if you use a wood-burning fireplace. Professional chimney sweeping removes creosote.

2. Smoke backups

A flue that’s obstructed by excess creosote or debris may cause smoke and deadly carbon monoxide to back up into your home. Leaves, twigs and the nests of small animals are common types of debris found in chimneys. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps have the tools and training to get rid of all drafting obstructions.

3. Creosote on the damper and fireplace walls

If you see creosote buildup on your fireplace damper or in your firebox, it means there’s probably hidden creosote up in the flue. Visible creosote is a sign that your chimney needs to be cleaned.

4. Sluggish fires

Another problem with a flue blockage is that it can make it hard to get fires started and keep them burning robustly. The reason is a lack of air being pulled through the firebox. Fire needs sufficient air to burn brilliantly and completely.

5. Odors in the chimney

If you smell weird odors coming from your fireplace, there could be several causes:

  • A dead animal in the chimney
  • Excess moisture in the chimney (could be caused by a damaged or missing chimney cap or a leaky chimney)
  • High levels of built-up creosote and soot
  • Rotting debris
  • Mildew

6. Clay pieces in the firebox

Pieces of clay tile chimney liners in the firebox is a very bad sign. It means your chimney liner is falling apart and can cause flames and intense heat to come into contact with parts of the home near the chimney. Liner damage can also open a path for smoke and carbon monoxide to enter parts of the home. If you see clay pieces in your firebox, don’t use your fireplace again until the chimney liner has been inspected and repaired.

7. Animal sounds

Not all animals that move into chimneys end up dying. Some thrive in there. Birds, reptiles, rodents, squirrels and other small animals like to shelter inside chimneys. If you hear noises or, in the worst case, see one of them in your home, call a chimney sweep right away.

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The importance of regular chimney sweeping and inspections

Virtually every fire safety and hearth organization in the U.S. recommends annual chimney cleaning and inspection for wood-burning systems. Lives can be saved with this important maintenance step. Fluesbrothers is certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), which provides the highest certification in the industry. We have the tools and experience to clean your chimney and restore safe and efficient operation. Speak with a chimney expert today at (913) 236-7141 or get in touch with our handy contact form.