Coastal Chimney Care was founded on the principals that every chimney owner deserves to know the importance of what they own, how it works, have a firm understanding of their system and what is working against it. Chimneys have evolved over time, not by shape or size, but by use and how we see them. This also changes how we think of them in relation to how important they are in our lives. The fireplace at one time was the heart of the home. It was your heat source as well as the way to cook your meals. It never went out and was maintained perpetually to ensure that it was available for use tomorrow. Today the modern fireplace, for most people, is used on occasion or for the holidays. Many people do use it regularly to take the chill off in the evenings but even less as supplemental heat or as a primary heat source.

It is essential to clean your system regularly. Meaning that the flues that are used regularly must be cleaned regularly regardless of the type of fuel being burned. Fuel burning appliances exhaust gasses that produce condensation in your flues. This water mixture is highly acidic and can destroy the inside of a flue if it is not made of the proper materials. It is also equally essential to ensure that rain, birds and other critters can’t get into your flues.

For the most part the modern fireplace is used to enjoy a nice crackling fire on the colder days and most often is left neglected for years if not decades at a time. This failure to acknowledge the importance of regular inspections and cleanings is what leads to the surprise of costly repairs or worse chimney fires.

With over 25 years of experience in chimneys and masonry services, Coastal Chimney Care offers you the best practice and service to keep your family safe from your system, keep your system functioning, all without any worry or issues.

Signs Your Chimney Needs to Be Cleaned

Our recommendation is that you should hire a chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney once a year, unless you rarely use your fireplace. However, it’s not always about making sure your system is clean, its more about making sure the system is safe and functional. The CSIA advocates for annual cleanings, but the institute also advises cleaning once there is ⅛” of soot buildup.

Here are a few clues to know if your system is dirty.

The Color Is Changing

The best way to know if something needs to be cleaned is if you can visually see that it’s dirty. Take a look in your fireplace and the fireplace damper over time. As it turns black, that’s evidence that soot is building up and it’s time for a cleaning. Creosote may also appear as oily stains on the fireplace walls or above your damper.

Whitening bricks in the fireplace are a sign of moisture damage. If you see the bricks beginning to change color that indicates an issue.

The Smell Changes

You can rely on another one of your senses to monitor your fireplace, your sense of smell. If you notice a bad odor, a firepit like smell, or just a change in smell when burning a fire, it’s probably a good idea to have it cleaned, especially if you can’t remember when it was cleaned last.

It’s Harder to Start a Fire

Your fireplace depends on airflow and a draft to get a fire started and to keep it lit. If you’re, all of a sudden, struggling to get and keep a fire going, there may be some a obstruction in the chimney flue like a nesting animal or a buildup of soot and creosote.

Smoke Enters the Room

If smoke suddenly starts to enter your room instead of rising up the chimney, put the fire out and make an appointment to clean and inspect your system before lighting it again. Keeping a fire extinguisher by your fireplace just might be the best thing you do for your home this year, besides having you chimney cleaned and inspected of course.

Your Calendar reminds you.

Regardless of any signs from your system, you should have an annual reminder on your calendar telling you to schedule your annual inspection and cleaning. We send out annual reminders to let our customers know that another year has already flown by. We recommend having annual service scheduled as soon as the major burning season has passed. That allows your system to sit clean during seasons without use and helps prevent lingering scents during warm months. This also helps you get your service in a timelier fashion by not trying have your system scheduled for service during the cold burning season when everyone is scrambling to have service done because they forgot about it.

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