Chimney FAQ - Learn More About Your Chimney & Fireplace

Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I know how many flues I have?

A flue is a venting system. Each system needs its own flue, so if you heat your home with gas and have a fireplace, you would have two flues. Often times they are in one chimney, so if you were to look down the chimney, it would be separated into two venting systems within the one chimney.

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How often should I have my chimney cleaned?

That answer to that question really depends on how often you burn, what you burn and how you burn. A wood stove typically needs to be cleaned more often than a fireplace because most homeowners use woodstoves as a heating source, whereas a fireplace is used mostly for a decorative purpose. A good rule is to clean the chimney after burning each cord of wood. Gas fireplaces and stoves should be inspected at least annually. Gas burns clean, but emits a lot of moisture, so a professional chimney sweep is going to look for any debris that could fall into the chimney, cracks in the liner, or even animals nesting in the chimney that could block up the flue and cause carbon monoxide to enter the home.

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What is the process of cleaning a chimney?

Every situation is unique; no two chimneys are the same. The standard cleaning process for a fireplace flue would to be to come into the home, lay clean tarps around the fireplace and tarp off the firebox so that no soot escapes into your home. The tech would then go on to the roof for inspection. Then, using his rods and brushes, he would proceed to sweep from the bottom or top down. As soon as the flue has been properly cleaned, the technician will then clean the smoke chamber and firebox using a high powered vacuum, removing any soot that has been brushed down.

For a furnace flue cleaning, the technician will begin on the roof, brushing any debris to the bottom. Then he will go to the basement, disconnect the pipe from the furnace to the flue and vacuum 2-3 feet below that connecting pipe. When this process is completed the technician will make sure that the pipe is properly resealed to the flue.

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How do I know they will not make a mess in my home?

Our company guarantees that we will take every precaution to insure the safety and cleanliness of your home, from the time we enter until the time we leave. Again, we are fully insured, so you can rest assured knowing that, if anything did occur while in your home, we would make sure to take care of it.

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Why do I need a chimney liner?

A chimney liner is like the exhaust on your vehicle: if it does not function properly or there isn’t one, you and your family would inhale toxic fumes. Your chimney liner does the same thing, so it needs to be free and clear of any blockages, as well as structurally sound to ensure all fumes and toxic gases exit your home properly.

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How do you know when you need a chimney liner?

Here are the most common reasons:

  • Your chimney is unlined.
  • Your chimney is lined with terra cotta flue tiles that are cracked, shifted, and/or deteriorated.
  • You are installing a new furnace.
  • A furnace is not sized properly to the chimney.
  • You had a chimney fire.

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Is there anything I need to do to prepare to have my chimney cleaned?

We do ask that someone over the age of 18 be present as we do need to enter the home. Please do not light your woodstove, fireplace, gas fireplace, or heating stove 24 hours prior to a chimney technician coming to clean your flue. For a furnace flue, you do not need to do anything.

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Should I have my burner serviced first or the furnace flue cleaned first?

Really it doesn’t matter; you can even schedule both for the same day. A chimney technician doesn’t touch the burner itself and gas technicians do not go on the roof, so because of that we can work together.

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What is the purpose of a chimney cap?

A chimney cap helps prevent water, animals and debris from entering your chimney. All of our technicians carry numerous sizes of stainless steel caps, but we can also order caps in copper and black.

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What is tuckpointing?

Tuckpointing is grinding out old crumbling and cracked mortar joints (mortar in between brick) and then replacing it with new mortar.

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I have a gas fireplace; I don’t need service, right?

Wrong. All units require service to ensure proper function. We have the tools necessary to properly clean, diagnose and service all types of gas fireplaces. Inspection is the key to safety!

How do I light the gas fireplace pilot?

This video from Napoleon does a terrific job of explaining how to light your pilot light.