Company Blog

Summer: The Best Time to Schedule Your Chimney Service

Now that it’s summer and you’re enjoying the exterior living space of your home, it may be difficult to think of the winter months ahead. But did you know that the summer months are the best time to schedule home winterizations, including your annual chimney sweep? There are a number of issues which may arise during the warmer months of spring and summer which may adversely affect the safety of your family. Hiring a certified technician to inspect and sweep your chimney will assist in the prevention of house fires, and ensure that your fireplace is a relaxing and enjoying focal point this fall.

Animals in your chimney

To keep your family safe and warm, schedule your annual chimney inspection with us now. You can rely on the chimney and fireplace services from Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps.

To keep your family safe and warm, schedule your annual chimney inspection with us now. You can rely on the chimney and fireplace services from Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps.

If you’re like most Americans, your fireplace is the heart of family gatherings and celebrations. Whether winter or summer, your mantel is adorned with family pictures and holiday cards, and a crackling fire lends a sense of comfort to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, squirrels, birds and even snakes will find your chimney equally enticing. During the spring and summer months, animals may nest in your chimney, but it’s possible that they’ll be unable to get out. While calling animal control for more obvious infestations may be necessary, a chimney sweep can find early signs of nesting and alert you to any necessary fix. As if the infestation of your chimney weren’t unpleasant enough, the smell and potential presence of maggots will lead to quite a troublesome experience if the animals die. In addition to cleaning services, some technicians will be equipped to install chimney guards on your chimney, preventing the entrance of these animals.

Summertime allergies

Ragweed, pollen and dust which are present in the summer are allergens for many. In the South, we experience a sometimes weeks long dusting of yellow pine pollen which accumulates on our cars, our streets and, yes, in our chimneys, too. The weeks following this period of time are a great opportunity to clean your chimney, and to remove these irritants from your home. Other allergens may include the soot from your wood burning fireplace, which has been proven to exacerbate asthma and other respiratory ailments. Pollutants, in addition to creosote and other hazards, can be identified and removed by your technician.

Damage repair

Unfortunately, the South is likely to experience drastic fluctuations in temperature during the winter months. Sudden deep freezes can be followed by weeks of warm sunshine, and this has a tendency to cause structural damage to even the most well built homes. Having your chimney swept and inspected by a certified technician before the danger of freezing temperatures is imminent can allow for timely repair of any damage. Even if you’ve not experienced damage, routine upkeep of all chimney and ventilation components is best performed during the summer months, such as liner and insulation replacement. Appointments are more readily scheduled, and the safety conditions for the technician are improved greatly. Don’t wait until it’s imperative that you use your fireplace for heat. Have your chimney swept and repaired during the warmer season.

Whether you use your fireplace daily or simply as an attractive backdrop for family gatherings, it’s necessary to have it cleaned, inspected, and possibly repaired each year. Scheduling a certified technician is a maintenance task you perform every year; for optimal service, don’t hesitate. Have your chimney cleaned this summer.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps is CSIA certified and can inspect & sweep your chimney. Don’t wait until the first cold snap to have your chimney swept and inspected!

Creosote F.A.Q.

One of the leading causes of chimney fires, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), creosote build-up is a dangerous fact of life when you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove. Removing creosote deposits from your chimney walls is a big part of your annual chimney sweeping, and this maintenance can save you and your family’s life since creosote building up on your chimney walls puts you at risk of a chimney fire.

It isn't possible to clean 100% of the creosote in your chimney. However, you need regular maintenance to keep the level low.

It isn’t possible to clean 100% of the creosote in your chimney. However, you need regular maintenance to keep the level low.

The CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps clean your chimney thoroughly to remove any creosote sticking to your chimney walls when performing their chimney sweeps. We at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps would like to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about creosote to inform you about this fire hazard.

What exactly is creosote and how does it get in my chimney?  Occurring naturally, creosote is the resulting residue of the condensation that occurs when the by-products of combustion (smoke, gases, vapors, unburned wood particles, tar fog, and other assorted minerals) leave the fireplace or wood stove and exit the cooler upper chimney. This residue sticks behind on the chimney walls.

What does creosote look like? Varying in appearance, creosote can be either black or brown, and it takes different forms: sticky and tar-like, flat and shiny, and crusty and flaky. No matter what it looks like, creosote is highly combustible in every form.

How does creosote build-up start chimney fires? If the build-up is large enough and your internal chimney flue temperature gets hot enough, a chimney fire could ignite, thanks to the highly combustible makeup of creosote.

Are there conditions that encourage the development of creosote deposits? Yes, certain things to help creosote to build up more quickly: restricted air flow, burning unseasoned wood, and cooler than normal chimney temperatures.

What can I do to change these conditions? To keep air flowing properly and without restrictions, open the glass fireplace doors when burning a fire, and always be sure your damper is wide open when burning a fire. You want to be sure you have enough air flowing into your fireplace to move heated smoke up the chimney quickly because the longer the smoke stays in the flue, the more likely creosote will form. When using a wood stove, do not close down the stove damper or air inlets too soon or too much. Always use seasoned firewood because burning unseasoned wood keeps the smoke cooler because the fire spends so much time burning off the excess water in the wood cells. Also, when using a wood stove, never overload the firebox with wood in an attempt to get a longer burn time because this also adds to creosote development.

What is the best way to prevent the accumulation of large creosote deposits? As the CSIA says, “clean chimneys don’t catch fire.” Having your chimney swept annually by a CSIA-certified company like Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps is the best possible prevention of creosote building up large enough to ignite a chimney fire. Our chimney sweeps are well experienced with creosote removal, and can rid your chimney walls of all creosote deposits.

If you have more questions about creosote and chimney fires, contact Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps today. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney cleaning to give yourself peace of mind regarding a possible chimney fire.