A lot has changed in the chimney sweep field since the need for sweeps first arose. We as a profession have gone from child slaves being shoved up chimneys to clean to semi-robotic machines getting the job done. While I still don’t understand how it seemed that sending a child up a flue was the easiest solution on the problem, you can really find some items on the market that are a bit of an overkill these days. In the same way that a lot has changed and improved in the field of chimney cleaning, a lot has stayed the same.
The basics are simple, remove the creosote build up from the chimney and ensure that all of the functioning parts are working as they should.
Those basics are exactly where things get tricky and from one do-it-yourselfer to another, you should really hire a professional.
There are 100+ reasons why your chimney may not be preforming correctly, this could range from simple things like, too much creosote to things like the air pressure in your home has changed and adjustments to your fireplace and chimney now need to be made to balance the pressure out correctly. While some of these issues have quantifiable indicators, others take a more, “let’s try fixes until we find the right one” kind of approach. For example, your chimney has never had an issue drawing correctly and now any time you get a fire started your house is filled with smoke. Here is a list of some of the possible reasons and solutions:
*Damper left shut – open that baby up!
*Too much creosote build up – get a chimney cleaning.
*Flue is cold – start the fire small and give it a chance to heat up or use a hair dryer before lighting your fire to warm the flue.
*Birds nest in your chimney – get a chimney sweep to remove the nest or debris.
*Bad or uncured wood – let your wood cure or find a better, less prone to smoke, wood.
*Trees in the front or backyard grown – get the trees trimmed.
*A horizontal mesh over the chimney opening holding leaves and debris – get it removed – THIS IS A MAJOR FIRE HAZARD
*Added a window unit to a back bedroom and had the problem since – add a smoke guard to your fireplace (there is an easy test if this will fix it before you have to purchase or get one installed.)
and the list goes on…
One thing is for certain, if you are not trained and experienced in chimney and fireplace handling the fix can seem quite daunting and expensive. The best thing to do is call for a professional chimney service company to come out and inspect, if done correctly this will take all of the guess work out of the problem and ensure that you are not wasting money on the wrong fix.
While there have been great improvements in the field of chimney care, one thing remains the same, we are all just interested in getting your chimney working correctly with no fire hazards.