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How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney?

By Luke Armstrong

As we approach the holiday season, it will be time to start up the fireplace again. The warmth of the fire, the crackling of the flames and the bright amber flickering around the room is very comforting and relaxing when spending time with family and friends. What you may not expect is a pungent odor, billowing smoke or tenants in the form of birds.

Fireplace cleaningFireplace is one of the most valued features in a home, however, many families will label their fireplace “non-working” and it sits unused, because the homeowner doesn’t know what to do about a variety of issues or how to clean it properly. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about chimneys and the answers, courtesy of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

How often should I have my chimney cleaned?

The National Fire Protection Association Standard says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”
It takes into account the fact that even if you don’t use your chimney much, animals may build nests in the flue or there may be other types of deterioration that could make the chimney unsafe to use.

I heat with gas. Should this chimney be checked too?

Yes, even though gas is a clean burning fuel, the chimney can become non-functional from bird nests or other debris blocking the flue. Modern furnaces can also cause many problems with the average flues intended to vent the older generation of furnaces.
Related post: Do I Need to Sweep My Gas Fireplace?

My chimney always smokes. Can this be fixed?

If the fireplace always smokes, the problem might be a partial or complete blockage of the flue. Or, if you have a tightly- insulated house, an air exchange system or exhaust fans in operation, there may not be enough air available in the house to allow the fireplace to draw, and so it will smoke. Finally, the smoke chamber may be too small, which can cause smoke to curl out at the top of the fireplace opening and spill into the room.

Who can you recommend for chimney cleaning services? is a great resource for cleaning and restoration services in your area, as well as valuable articles and tips on how to keep your house clean and safe! Simply visit the website and search for RMR Chimney Sweep Chicago. features ServiceMaster experts for everything from chimney sweeping services to fire damage cleanup (should your chimney cause additional problems) and smoke restoration services across the nation. These highly trained technicians are ready to handle emergencies around-the-clock, or schedule appointment times at your convenience.