Will a chimney sweep leave a mess in my house?
Many home fires start in the chimney. Regular inspections and sweeping are vital to keeping your home and family safe. Since the chimney is often filled with soot, ash, creosote, and other debris, many homeowners worry that a chimney sweep will leave a mess in their house. It’s a fair question because not everyone who says they can clean the chimney is a Certified Chimney Sweep®. Without professional training, tools, and supplies, sweeping the chimney can leave your furnishings and flooring covered in soot.
How Often Should a Chimney be Swept?
The National Fireplace Protection Association (NFPA) recommends homeowners have an annual chimney inspection to ensure there are no excessive creosote deposits. A Certified Chimney Sweep ® should perform chimney inspections. The chimney sweep that performs your yearly chimney inspection will let you know if cleaning is necessary. In between cleanings, you should continually be on the lookout for creosote glazing in the flue, which is a fire hazard. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that homeowners sweep the chimney when there are 1/8ʺ of creosote accumulation. If you don’t use your fireplace very often, you still need a chimney sweep. Small animals like squirrels and birds may nest in your chimney and obstruct the flue that can cause carbon monoxide fumes to back-up in your home, and creosote build-up is a fire hazard.
Hiring a Chimney Sweep
When hiring a chimney sweep, you should check that they are certified. The CSIA and the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) are the leading non-profit organizations that certify chimney sweeps. It is your assurance that they have the professional training and expertise to clean and maintain the chimney system and attached heating appliances. The chimney service provider should have a liability insurance policy in the rare event they cause any accidental damage to your property. Also, the chimney needs to be cool, so refrain from using the fireplace 24 hours before the appointment. Move or cover any surrounding furniture so that the chimney and fireplace are easily accessible when the professional chimney sweep arrives.
Will the Chimney Sweep Leave a Mess?
The chimney sweep will arrive with protective clothing, including a respirator mask and gloves. Chimney sweep professionals will clear the immediate area near the fireplace or heating stove and cover flooring and furniture. The chimney sweep may start from the roof or the flue, or in some cases, both. Any creosote in the flue is removed to reduce the risk of fires. While cleaning the chimney, a powerful vacuum with a HEPA filter attachment removes dust and debris floating around during the process.
When the cleaning is complete, the chimney sweep will clean the work area and provide a chimney report that summarizes your system’s condition, including your fireplace and heating stove.