Originally Posted By eswanson:
My wife and I recently bought a new house. How can I tell if the chimney needs cleaning?
If it's a masonry chimney and you look up into the smoke chamber and see around a 1/4 inch of creosote build up you need to get it cleaned.If it's a factory built chimney, it's 1/8 inch.
Keep in mind, that ANY amount of creosote build up is enough to cause a chimney fire. The less you have, the less dramatic one will be if you have one.
Now, here's the butt squeezer. Before you use it, I'd suggest you have a Certified Chimney Sweep from [url=http://www.csia.org]Chimney_Safety_Institute_of_America[/url] come out and perform a Level 2 inspection on the chimney. This will involve a internal video scan of the chimney. You'd be surprise at what your home inspector missed!
[red]NOTE TO ALL![/red] Get the chimney inspected by a sweep with a video camera that can be sent up the flue BEFORE you close. I can't count the times I've had to tell a customer that just closed on a home they have 3-4 thousands dollars worth of damage in their chimney that needs to be fixed before I'd recommend they use it! Home Inspectors don't know a thing about chimneys!
I've seen ads on tv for those logs that you burn in the fireplace, and it's supposed to cause the creosote to flake off over the next few days. Are those any good?
What they don't tell you in those ads is that the log is only good for what is called 3rd degree creosote which is either in a liquid tar form or glazed on form. If the chimney has regular 1st or 2nd degree powder form creosote you're wasting your money.
Also, some of my customers that did have this glazed creoste with wood stoves got their flues bolcked when it fell off and smoked up the house. The CSIA,(Chimney Safety Institute of America) has researched this product extensively!
How much does it generally cost to get one's chimney swept?
It all depends on what area you live in. Where I'm at I charge $125 for a masonry chimney, $105 for a factory built. Stoves vary from $105 to $250.
Can I do this myself by wrapping my daughter in burlap, tying a rope to her ankles, and running her up and down the chimney a couple times?
Only if you don't mind her getting lung cancer![:(]. I know yer just joking, but creosote is carcinogenic which is why before the brush and rod method was invented most "climbing boys" in England didn't live pass the age of 15.
You can clean it yourself though. You just have to have patience and be willing to get a little dirty. I have a few customers that require frequent sweepings and I've sold them the brushes and rods they need and I just go out and sweep and inspect it once a year.
If you want to clean it yourself, call a sweep from that link at the top, watch how he does it, then drop me an e-mail and I'll tell you how much it'll cost for the brush and rods, whole sale, no profit for me.
However, depending on how often you use it, I'd still recommend a good inspection once a year to be on the safe side.
Need some burning tips?[:D]