A chimney sweep often does more than just sweeping out the chimney. Many offer a variety of related services that can help keep your fireplace safe and functional.
1. Creosote Removal
Cleaning out the creosote and soot buildup in the chimney is one of the primary reasons a homeowner hires a chimney sweep. Over repeated use, oily creosote, a buildup that occurs from burning wood, can coat the inside of the chimney. Not only does this restrict airflow so smoke can get trapped in the house, but creosote is also flammable and can cause chimney fires if it isn't removed periodically.
2. Chimney Inspection
Most chimney sweeping services will also inspect the chimney during a routine cleaning call. Inspections typically begin with the outside of the chimney, where the brick and mortar work is checked for any cracks or crumbling. Then, the firebox and liner are inspected after cleaning. If cracks are found in either, then repair or replacement is necessary. Finally, other components such as the chimney flue, gas appliance flues, and the chimney cap are checked for any possible damage.
3. Cap Upgrades
Your chimney sweep may be able to replace old chimney caps that no longer stay in place. If you have an older cap, upgrading to a newer one is also a good idea. New caps feature more secure designs that prevent them from coming loose. They may also have baffles that better keep out small animals and reduce the chances of hot embers escaping the chimney and landing on the roof.
4. Liner Repairs
One of the more dangerous issues with a chimney is if the liner cracks. Cracks in the liner can allow smoke to enter the home. There is also an increased risk for embers to ignite a fire within your home's walls via cracks in the liner. Clay and tile liners can often be repaired. Metal liners may require replacement. Your chimney service can recommend the best course of action for addressing any cracks in your liner.
5. Flue Troubleshooting
The flue is responsible for opening up to allow smoke to escape when a fire is burning and then closing to keep out rain and drafts when the fireplace isn't in use. If your flue is not working properly, then you can end up with smoke in the house or draft issues that affect your heating bills. Your chimney sweep will clean and inspect the flue. They can then make any repairs needed to get it functioning properly again.
Contact a chimney sweeping service for more information.