Yes! If you have a fireplace that you haven’t used in months or years, it still needs the same basic  maintenance steps that any chimney needs. While you’re less likely to experience issues with creosote buildup in a rarely-used fireplace, it can still experience masonry deterioration, clogging from exterior debris, critter invasion or damage to the chimney cap on your roof.

If you plan to use your fireplace for the first time this year, or for the first time in several years, you should have it inspected and cleaned as soon as possible! While the warmer months are the best time for a chimney inspection, it’s critical to your family’s safety to ensure your fireplace is operating appropriately before you use it!

The smell you notice in your chimney is likely due to the byproducts of combustion, the most notable of which being creosote. As you burn wood, creosote builds in your chimney and these deposits will stay there until swept away. Downdrafts in your chimney can pull this odor straight into your home.

If you notice a smell from your chimney, it’s possible that the creosote buildups are substantial. The first step to clearing away smell in your chimney is to have it professionally swept. Following a cleaning, it’s possible to reduce or eliminate any remaining odor by fixing the downdraft problem. Installing a new damper or repairing the existing one can help deal with downdrafts, which will stop the air from pushing the chimney odor back into your home.

Two of the most common uses for relining a chimney are to bypass older, damaged or irreparable chimneys, or to vent a new heating appliance such as a pellet or wood burning stove through an existing chimney.

Chimneys without a clay liner can be made safer by installing a stainless steel liner.

Typically yes. Chimney liners offer three significant advantages. First, they last considerably longer than traditional masonry chimneys.

Secondly, they are typically easier to clean since smooth-walled liners make it difficult for creosote to adhere to the inside of the chimney.

Finally, chimney liners maintain a hotter core, boosting your operating draft. In other words, less smoke will be pulled back into your home.

Creosote has the potential to ignite at around 451 degrees F. Given that fires in fireplaces can reach temps exceeding 450 degrees F, it doesn’t take a miracle for creosote to reach the right temperature for a chimney fire.

Once a chimney fire is going, it can burn up to 2000 degrees F, which is hot enough to break and crack clay flue tiles and melt metal flue liners in mere moments. That’s why a small chimney fire can become a house fire in very little time.

If you have the brushes, scrubbers, rotating rods, industrial solvents and commercial vacuums used by certified chimney technicians along with extensive supervised training, you’ll be fine. Otherwise, let a professional do the job. Untrained individuals can do more harm than good to a chimney.

Most likely. A chimney leak can start in the bricks and mortar or because of damage to a component such as the chimney crown or chimney flashing. If you smell musty odors, have your chimney inspected right away.

No. We use a powerful vacuum that prevents soot and dust from entering the home, and we are careful to take precautions in order to prevent any mess.

cleaning a chimney is hard, messy work that many homeowners leave to the pros. The benefits of hiring this task out include:

  • Fast and clean

  • In-depth inspection and identification of potential weak spots in the chimney liner or the chimney itself;

  • Removal of blockages and debris.

Yes, all chimneys should be capped. Caps prevent natural elements and animals from getting inside your chimney. While chimney fires can do lots of damage to the inside of your chimney, water and moisture can too. Waterproofing, crown sealer, and caps are going to be a vital part of preserving your chimney. 

An annual inspection of all the chimneys in your home should be a regular part of your yearly maintenance plan. This will determine the extent of further cleaning you need. No matter what type of fuel you use in your chimney, all chimneys are exposed to drastic weather conditions. For wood-burning fireplaces, we tend to recommend the general rule of thumb: cleaning after every cord of seasoned wood is burned. 

Even homeowners who no longer use their fireplace or may only burn it once in a while should not overlook the importance of this step in their home’s maintenance – even an occasional fire can cause buildup in your chimney.

The best time to get a chimney sweep is when heating season is over. Spring is the best time to schedule a chimney sweep. A Step In Time will remove the creosote buildup to prevent deterioration of your chimney’s flue from the inside out. This also helps to remove the odor from the creosote buildup that commonly occurs throughout the humid months. 

Doing an inspection during the springtime ensures that you have plenty of time to make any necessary repairs prior to next heating season.

A spark arrestor is a metal screen that catches sparks and hot embers that may escape your chimney if not in place. Today, spark arrestors are commonly built into chimney caps, which our company can provide and install for you.

Smoke coming into your home is certainly not enjoyable and indicates a problem with a poor draw up and out of the chimney. Smoke may also escape through leaks in your liner into other areas of the house. If you smell smoke in other rooms, your problem is likely with your liner. Remember, your liner must be the correct size for the fireplace, stove or furnace that your are venting – if it is not, the gases and smoke will not all escape the home. If your damper is not working properly or is closed you will also get smoke back drafting into the home. Many of today’s homes are built very tight, so the air that is taken out of the room during burning can’t be replaced. Outside air needs to be introduced in order to remedy the imbalance and allow the smoke to be drafted out of the chimney. If your smoking problem goes away when you crack open a window, this may be your problem. If you have smoke in your home when you use your fireplace, it is not a safe situation.

This deposit is called efflorescence. When gases leak out through a defective liner and onto your brick interior wall they deposit salts on the surface of the masonry. Water then dissolves and transports these salts through the joints and mortar to the exterior of the chimney where you see the white deposits. So these are the telltale signs of leaks in your liner and water problems in your chimney system. Repairs should be made immediately to prevent further deterioration of your chimney.

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