A Coveted Expert’s Advice On Chimney Cleaning
If you are lucky enough to have a working fireplace, it was probably put to heavy use this past year as we were all hunkered down. Spring is the perfect time to clean your fireplace inside and out as a part of a thorough spring cleaning routine. You would also beat the fall rush, when everyone is trying to book the best chimney sweeps.
Though expert sources vary on how often to clean your chimney – from 50-70 fires to once every two to four years – The Chimney Safety Institute of American (CSIA) recommends yearly visual inspections. A visual inspection will reveal any issues that that need to be addressed, including when you need a chimney sweep to clean it.
One such expert and favorite of top interior designers, Richard Bruno, discussed fireplace and chimney care with us. Richard not only inspects, cleans, repairs and builds new fireplaces, but he also consults with the high end design and building trades on fireplace design. Here are his most important take-a-ways.
According to Richard, there is no rule on how often to have your chimney cleaned. When your chimney is due for a cleaning depends on so many factors, including not only how often it’s used, but also on what kind of wood is burned. Weather, wind and air temperature all impact the draft of the fireplace chimney flue and creosote build-up in the chimney. Creosote is a type of tar or carbon that builds up in your chimney and is highly flammable. Too much creosote can result in a chimney fire that can cause significant damage and danger to your property and to the people living there.
Richard backs up CSIA’s recommendation for yearly visual inspections. In fact, he will not clean any fireplace flue without first completing a camera inspection for damage or soot build-up, unless he is given satisfactory history of a fireplace’s safe function.
Richard also stresses the importance of getting fireplace chimney camera inspections prior to purchasing a home. On how to find a reputable chimney sweep, he says, “use a trusted referral only.”
And for those of you with homes outside New York, like in The Bahamas, where experienced chimney sweeps do not exist, Richard Bruno does travel to provide these critical home services. He can be reached via email Richard Bruno, [email protected].
Of course, if you need help cleaning the mantle, surround or hearth, we are always here for you. In the mean time, here’s to safe and cozy days ahead spent by your newly cleaned fireplace!