Chimney Flue: Basics, Importance & Maintenance Tips

Soot, creosote, and everything flammable should be amongst your chief concerns as a homeowner with a fireplace. There are preventive measures that can reduce the buildup of residue and limit the entry of foreign objects or visitors of the pest variety, but ultimately, your safety comes down to your upkeep.

At Creative Masonry and Chimney, chimney cleaning is taken seriously. Highly recommended by their customers, this team works with all types of flues, chimneys, and masonry to keep them safe and functional. 

If you’re not yet in a position to need a chimney repair and would like to keep it that way, then here’s what you need to know about proper maintenance.

Regular Inspections

According  to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the inspection of chimneys, fireplaces, and vents should be done by a professional once a year at a minimum. There are three standardized levels:

Level 1

The level 1 inspection works for chimneys that are not susceptible to much weather damage, and is more or less a cursory check to ensure there are no glaring issues. It involves a routine checkup of the fireplace and chimney. It’s done by a professional chimney sweep but doesn’t involve equipment.

Level 2

The level 2 inspection is performed with some special equipment. This allows workers to get internal video footage of the flue to get a closer look at the lining and the level of buildup. They’re generally done after intense weather that may have damaged the flue. They’re also recommended if there’s a smell in the chimney or a leak.

Level 3

This is reserved for cases where chimney fires have occurred or if the homeowner does not have a history of past inspections. At level 3, a professional will pick up on even the slightest flaw or hazard in your flue.

If I Have A Chimney Cover, Then Why Does My Chimney Still Need Cleaning?

Your flue is a pipe designed to funnel toxic fumes out of your home. Naturally, these fumes and the fires that produce them also leave a certain amount of residue inside the flue: soot and creosote. 

Each of these substances is flammable and may appear to be interchangeable. Skilled chimney sweeps explain that while they may appear similar to a layperson, each has a different composition.

Soot is made of particles of carbon that never burned and drifted upward instead. Creosote is made up of partially burned particles that can be much more problematic, so call a chimney sweep immediately if you see it.

Once it starts to glaze over and drip down, it’s very difficult to remove. Even a  professional chimney cleaning team would have to work hard to remove it without damaging the internal structure.

gray house with chimney near green mountain

What Happens if You Miss a Chimney Cleaning?

The fact is that if you have a fireplace in your home, you must intermittently have a chimney sweep in your home. Irregular chimney cleaning will most likely lead to you having to call for a chimney rebuilding and to put that in perspective, it would be one of the better scenarios. Maintenance is an imperative part of owning a chimney and avoiding damage.

A dirty chimney can be the cause of:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning 
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Structural damage to the flue
  • Fires in the home
  • Irritated eyes
  • Skin irritation

The latter two are only a threat to those who try to DIY their own chimney cleaning.

Foreign Objects

If anything makes it into your chimney flue from the external exit point of the smoke, it could potentially scratch, stick to, or in some way damage the flue walls. Dry leaves, tree branches, a raccoon—whatever it is, it’s always better to do a chimney repair sooner rather than later.

black wood burner near brown wooden pot

Creative Masonry and Chimney is a CSIA-certified company that provides free level one chimney inspections with every chimney sweep. Their capable and cooperative team provides restorations, repairs,and new construction services.

This company is here for all your chimney and masonry needs. If you need a chimney cleaning or chimney repair , they’ve got comprehensive skills and comprehensive tool kits to bolster over a decade of experience in this complex industry.

If you’re a chimney owner, make sure you stick to an upkeep routine. If you’ve just moved into a new home, hire a chimney sweep and request a level 3 inspection to avoid problems down the line. Call them at 860 225 9178.