Company Blog


See what to expect when your chimney is inspected by Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth

A functioning fireplace is one of the highlights of the Winter Season.  It is where you can share warm hugs, kisses and gather for special events with your loved ones.   Along with all this wonderfulness comes the responsibility for managing the risk of having your house damaged or burned to the ground or worse yet someone in your family being hurt.  It is important to have it inspected regularly to avoid accidents that could interfere with the fireplace “warm-fuzzies”.

Your CSIA certified and well trained technician will know, upon conducting your basic Level 1 inspection, whether or not additional inspection and/or sweeping is needed. The inspection process could involve putting a camera inside your chimney.  Your technician will recommend the appropriate level of inspection needed for your circumstances.

Safety in Your Home

Risk-of-use (safety) must always come first in every home.  Taking for granted that all is working properly just because the smoke is not coming back down the chimney and burning your eyes, could be a costly mistake.   Homeowners do well to verify that their fireplaces/chimneys are performing as it is assumed they are.  Chimney malfunction can be costly at best (if there is property damage), and deadly at the worst (if there is a home fire or carbon monoxide intrusion).

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 24,500 residential fires happened in 2005 and were caused by chimney fires.  These fires resulted in a death toll of 20 and over one hundred million dollars in property loss.  It takes experts in the field of chimney inspection and evaluation to help change these statistics.

Levels of Chimney Inspection

There are three levels for Chimney Inspections.  The National Fire Protection association has indicated the circumstances that would require each level of inspection.  Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth adheres to the inspection standard that is outlined in NFPA Standard 211.

We have recently discussed the different levels of inspection in a blog posted here.  We invite you to review the information.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth technicians are well-trained and prepared to inspect and evaluate your chimney for any issues related to risk-of-use, performance or general maintenance.  At the end of the inspection process, you will receive a condition report noting any issues found and recommendations for resolution of any noted issues.  Call today!

What is a chimney fire? Why is it A BAD THING?

Short Answer:  When creosote builds up in a chimney, it can ignite and burn.  That’s a chimney fire.  That fire can reach temperatures as high as 2000° F;  and it can wreak havoc on the insides (and sometimes the outside) of a chimney.  Resulting damage can lead to premature deterioration of the structure at best.  It can endanger a home and its occupants at worst.

We can find our substantiation for this opinion in The Facts about Chimney Fires – Causes & Cures — a brochure written by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.  Most of what is in this blog will be coming directly from that information piece. Some of it is directly quoted, some of it is paraphrased.

A chimney fire can be impressive.  Chimney fires have been described as creating:

  • loud cracking and popping noise
  • a lot of dense smoke, and
  • an intense, hot smell

The Dangers of A Chimney FireChimney fires can be  noisy and dramatic enough to be seen by neighbors or passers-by.  Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney.  Some report a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane.


However, those are only the chimney fires you know about.  Slow-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have fuel to be dramatic or visible.  However the temperatures they reach are very high and can cause as much damage as their more spectacular cousins.“

So…what is creosote and how can you minimize its collection in your chimney?  Let’s consult  The Facts About Chimney Fires

“The by-products of combustion (smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon volatiles, tar fog and assorted minerals) exit through a chimney during the process of using a fireplace or wood stove.

As these substances exit the fireplace or wood stove, and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote.  

Creosote is black or brown in appearance. It can be crusty and flaky…tar-like, drippy and sticky…or shiny and hardened.   All forms can occur in one chimney system.  Whatever form it takes, creosote is highly combustible. If it builds up in sufficient quantities – and the internal flue temperature is high enough – the result could be a chimney fire.

Certain conditions encourage or accelerate the buildup of creosote on the chimney walls

  • Restricted air supply
  • closing the glass doors
  • failing to open the damper wide enough
  • the lack of sufficient make-up air  to move heated smoke up the chimney rapidly
  • closing down the stove damper or air inlets too soon or too much.
  • unseasoned wood
  • so much energy is used initially just to drive off the water trapped in the cells of the logs– keeps the resulting smoke cooler, than if seasoned wood is used.
  • cooler than normal chimney temperatures
  • exterior chimneys
  • uninsulated chimneys”


How do you know if you’ve had a chimney fire?  For answers, let’s go back to The Facts About Chimney Fires

We’ve learned that a chimney fire can occur without anyone being aware of it.  So….

”…it’s  important to have your chimney regularly inspected by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.   Here are the signs that a professional chimney sweep looks for:

  • “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote
  • Warped metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber connector pipe or factory-built metal chimney
  • Cracked or collapsed flue tiles, or tiles with large chunks missing
  • Discolored and/or distorted rain cap
  • Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
  • Creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground
  • Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
  • Cracks in exterior masonry
  • Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners”


Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps |Bless Your Hearth can help you with….

Inspections & Proper Maintenance

“Clean chimneys don’t catch fire. Make sure a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep inspects your solid fuel venting system annually, and cleans and repairs it whenever needed. Your sweep may have other maintenance recommendations depending on how you use your fireplace or stove.”

Visit to see the complete brochure:  The Facts about Chimney Fires – Causes & Cures