Chimney Sweeping – Why Do I Have to Clean My Chimney and How Often Should it Be Done?

Chimney Sweeping – Why Do I Have to Clean My Chimney and How Often Should it Be Done?

Checking your chimney yearly and doing a thorough chimney sweeping will ensure the safe operation of your chimney. Any chimney that is not maintained can quickly deteriorate and become a danger to you, your family and your home.

Whether you choose to do the work yourself or hire a professional there are some important things that need to be checked during chimney sweeping.

Chimney Flues

Fires create dangerous gases that can eat at the flue lining your fireplace. Chimney sweeping should include checking to see if the flue is damaged or failing. If it is, it can allow those gases sweep home chicago to seep into your living spaces instead of venting it outdoors. A damaged flue liner can also let the extreme heat of a fire penetrate into areas of your home where there are combustibles and start a fire.

During chimney sweeping, the flue must be thoroughly examined to make sure that it is still in good condition. Soot or creosote deposits that build up on the inside need to be cleaned. If they are allowed to build up they can cause a fire inside your chimney.

Chimney Caps and Chimney Crowns

The chimney cap and crown protects the chimney between the flue and outside of the chimney. Over time these can weather, crack and lose pieces of material. A thorough chimney sweeping will include assessing the condition of the caps and crown and then doing any needed repairs. Small cracks can be filled but if there is more damage the crown may need replacing.

In addition, animals like to make nests in flues because they are a warm protected area. Weather elements, including snow and rain, can get inside the flue and cause water leaks. Nearby trees can deposit leaves and branches in the flue which could cause blockages or fires. Many chimney caps have a mesh that keeps these things out of your flue. But smoke can deposit soot and creosote in the mesh and slowly diminish the ability of the flue to vent through the chimney cap.

All of these are bad and can cause blockage in your flue which traps the gases and heat from a fire inside your home instead of venting it outside.

A good chimney sweeping will involve removing the cap to check the interior of the flue for buildups and blockages. Then the cap itself should be cleaned before replacing it.

Brickwork Problems

If a flue becomes damaged, the gases produced by fires can cause your chimney bricks and mortar to deteriorate. Weathering can also gradually erode the brickwork and mortar. Failure to keep the brickwork maintained can result in expensive repairs being needed. It is not uncommon to see loose bricks at the top of the chimney where they are most vulnerable to problems from the hot gases and weather.

If a brick comes loose it can drop down into the chimney and damage a flue or cause a blockage. During any chimney sweeping these issues need to be carefully checked to insure the safety of your family. If brickwork is allowed to deteriorate too much it can even impact the structural stability of your chimney.


Doing a thorough chimney sweeping every year will insure that you chimney is safe and will provide you with years of service. Ignoring problems will only make the work become more expensive as the damage grows and could even result in a dangerous condition for you and your family.

Chimney sweeping should be a regular part of your home maintenance that is done every year. Whether you do the work yourself or hire a professional doing the chimney sweeping work regularly will save you money in the long run. Finally, make sure that you know your limits. Even though the average homeowner can do a lot of repairs and chimney sweeping, there are times when you need to call in the professionals.

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