CHIMNEY SERVICE FAQS
What areas does Charmed Chimney Service cover?
We cover Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard, and Carroll Counties. We can also send service outside of the previously mentioned areas on a job-by-job basis. Just call or send us an email and we will be more than happy to let you know if your home falls within our coverage area.
Why do I need to have my chimney cleaned?
When wood or any other combustible solid fuel is burned in a chimney a tar-like residue called creosote is produced from the byproduct of incomplete combustion. Overtime, creosote can build up along the inner walls of a chimney and create a situation that may eventually lead to a chimney fire. Making sure that a cleaning is performed on a regular basis will safeguard against the risk of a fire occurring in a chimney and subsequently spreading to the rest of a home.
How often should I have my chimney swept?
The standard answer to this question is once a year which is the recommendation of The National Fire Protection Association. Having a chimney swept at least once a year will ensure that not only the inner walls of the chimney are cleaned but that any debris (such as leaves, branches and even animals) that may have fallen into the flue is removed in a timely manner. Simply put, even if a chimney has not been used since its last inspection or cleaning it is still recommended that a cleaning take place in order to check for any blockages that may be impeding proper ventilation. The busiest time of the year for chimney servicing companies is from September to December. Therefore, the best time to schedule a routine sweep, inspection or any other service would be in the summer, spring or late winter.
I have a gas fireplace. Does this need to be inspected also?
Gas is a cleaner burning fuel than wood but yes, gas chimneys must be inspected. During the course of a year debris can accumulate in the liner or possibly get clogged in the flue or other parts of a gas or wood burning chimney. More importantly, disconnected or loose chimney connections due to rust and corrosion over time can pose serious dangers for residents due to leakage of carbon monoxide into the home. While in most cases there is no need to clean a gas chimney on an annual basis, that does not mean other parts of the chimney cannot fall into disrepair.
What is a chimney cap and why do I need one?
A chimney cap is a concrete and metal covering that is placed on top of a chimney so smoke and other gases can escape into the atmosphere while preventing leaves, tree branches, animals and rainwater from getting in. If not removed promptly, any object could at some point be a catalyst for a chimney fire. Chimney caps are also critical in prolonging the life of a chimney. Most of the structural damage that is inflicted on a chimney is due to rainwater seeping into the cracks and crevasses of the masonry. When this water freezes it will expand the area where it settled and leave an even larger gap than what was originally there after it has melted. Over a winter this freezing and melting process can occur multiple times and compromise the structural integrity of the masonry significantly.
What is a chimney liner?
A chimney liner is a flexible metal tube that protects the inner walls of a chimney from creosote residue. Once installed, a new liner will usually last about 30 years. Chimneys still need to be cleaned and/or inspected on a regular basis but a chimney liner will not only reduce the future costs associated with chimney repairs and maintenance but also reduce the risk of a chimney fire as well.
I just bought a chimney sweeping log. Doesn’t that make you guys obsolete?
Not at all. Chimney sweeping logs can be used as a tool to loosen creosote from the inner walls of a chimney but they do not take the place of a mechanical wire and brush cleaning. When burned, a chimney sweep log will release chemicals that will loosen creosote build up over about a two week period. This can be especially effective in helping with the removal of level 3 creosote which is a thick build up of creosote that has rubber like texture. Sweeping logs will loosen this creosote and it will eventually flake off as a result. At this point the creosote will accumulate on the smoke shelf and still pose a fire hazard. Ultimately, a certified technician will have to come out in order to remove the remaining creosote and ensure there are no other potential problems with the chimney.