All posts by Ray Gessner

Tips on How to Clean Your Dryer Vent

Tips on How To Clean Your Dryer Vent

Has your laundry been taking longer than usual to dry? Has your dryer been unusually hot to the touch during its use? Has there been a discernible burning smell emanating from your laundry room? 


If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then there’s a pretty high likelihood that it’s time for you to clean your dryer vent.  


Not addressing dirt and buildup in your dryer over time can do more than negatively impact its performance. The heat of the machine, combined with accumulated dust and dryer lint, can become a fire hazard. As a matter of fact, thousands of fires occur annually in the US from blocked dryer vents. 


It’s important to maintain a clean dryer in order to efficiently do your laundry, in addition to avoiding sparking a fire in your home. Continue reading below to learn how to clean your clothes dryer vent (at least once a year). 


Disconnect Your Dryer


Before you start cleaning your dryer vent, it’s important to disconnect it.


  • Locate the vent, which can be found at the back of your dryer. Make sure to also locate the dryer exhaust vent outside of your home.
  • Unplug the dryer. If your dryer runs on gas, turn off the supply valve while cleaning.
  • Pull your dryer away from the wall, giving yourself enough space and flexibility to clean the vent
  • Disconnect the duct from behind the dryer— this part may need a screwdriver in order to disconnect the vent clamp.


Vacuum the Vent


  • Make sure you’re wearing safety gloves for this step— reach back and remove the lint from the hole located at the back of the dryer. 
  • You’ll need a vacuum in order to clean the lint out from the dryer duct. Use the hose attachment of your regular vacuum cleaner in order to thoroughly clean in and around the hole.
  • Tip: Cleaning the duct is easier if you detach the duct from the wall. 
  • Go ahead and remove the lint built up in the duct, and vacuum the duct’s interior. 
  • Next, go outside your house and remove the exterior vent cover. Vacuum the dryer vent from outside. 


Brush Out the Vent


  • If you find that your dryer vent’s length prevents you from efficiently using a vacuum to remove the buildup, you may want to buy a dryer vent kit as an alternate method. This kit contains several flexible brushes equipped with extensions that can be utilized to thoroughly clean your vent’s interior walls. 
  • The first step in this particular case is to ease the brush into the dryer duct, moving it back and forth as you slightly rotate it. 
  • Use the brush extension as needed— depending on how long your vent is—  and continue this motion until your dryer’s vents are lint and dust-free. 


Reconnect Your Dryer


  • As soon as you finish cleaning, make sure to inspect your dryer’s ducts to ensure they’re undamaged and meet all safety codes. Replace the ducts if necessary.
  • Reconnect the ductwork with the vent cover. If needed, seal parts of the ductwork with UL-listed metal foil duct tape. 
  • Place your dryer back against the wall. Plug it back into the electrical outlet (or turn the gas valve back on). 
  • If you’d like to test the dryer before using it on any clothes, go ahead and run it for around 15 to 20 minutes on the air dry or fluff setting to ensure all the parts’ connections are strong (and to get rid of any remaining dust particles). 


If you feel that these tips aren’t very helpful, or that they’re too overwhelming to accomplish on your own, then it might behoove you to hire a professional dryer vent cleaning service. 


We at A Step in Time Chimney Sweeps in Virginia Beach, VA are experienced in all things dryer vent cleaning. 


Contact us today for an estimate.

Different Types of Chimneys Found in Homes and Other Buildings

Different Types of Chimneys Found in Homes and Other Buildings

Fireplaces and chimneys are staples in most houses in North America— installed to provide both warmth and coziness in homes, especially in the winter months. 


What Is a Chimney? 


A chimney resembles a pipe or a vertical channel, with its main function being to conduct and disperse combustion gases and smoke from an attached fireplace or furnace through the roof of a house or building, into the atmosphere. What a chimney does is ultimately prevent carcinogenic smoke and fumes from releasing throughout the interior of your home. 


Additionally, chimneys serve an important aesthetic and architectural function to a house or building’s exterior. 


How Does a Chimney Work? 


Although we usually take chimneys for granted, sometimes the question of how they really function does come up. And the science behind them is fascinating. 


As we said before, chimneys remove unwanted byproduct gases from within the home’s atmosphere. Every fireplace must have a chimney attached in order to transfer the potentially toxic fumes out of the house. This is a reference to an important feature of a well-functioning chimney, which is its airflow.


In a similar way that moist, warm air escapes through the attic of a home; smoke exits through the chimney. This is known as the stack effect, whereas the draft is the air that travels up and out of the chimney. A properly built, well-functioning chimney always has a strong draft that efficiently expels a fireplace’s smoke into the outside air. 


The 4 main factors that affect the draft of a chimney are the chimney’s height, the flue, overall air pressure, and obstructions/damages to the chimney. These will determine how efficiently your chimney functions, and are the things that need to be inspected if you suspect your chimney isn’t working as well as it should be. 


Types of Chimneys


There are various types of chimneys that exist out there aside from the traditional brick chimneys most of us are used to. Some other types include: 


Masonry Chimneys


This is considered the “standard” chimney by most— it’s typically built with materials such as brick, stone, cement, mortar, or block. Most masonry chimneys are accompanied by the installation of masonry fireplaces. 


The bricks of this type of chimney have the ability to absorb heat, which is especially helpful in winter when the heat helps keep the rest of the house warm. 


Masonry chimneys and fireplaces are very aesthetically pleasing, in that they have a rustic and handcrafted charm. This adds extra value to your home in the long run.


These chimneys are very durable in quality, with the potential to last as long as the structure of your house. You just have to make sure that you provide proper maintenance and regular cleaning to your chimney to extend its life. 


Metal Chimneys


Metal chimneys take up more space than masonry chimneys. They also tend to be more costly, with less aesthetic value. 


These chimneys can either be installed with double or triple walls, and are often bound in different outer casings. Typically, they’re enclosed within a sided frame, masonry chimney case, or a fully wooden structure. The purpose of these casings is to boost the aesthetic appeal of the chimney. 


Stainless steel is the most common material used in constructing metal chimneys. Some homeowners are drawn to their high-tech look, preferring them for the aesthetic of their home over masonry chimneys.

Wood-Burning Stove Chimneys


Commonly used in the 1800s, wood-burning stove chimneys burn wood for heat and are surging in popularity because of their rustic appeal. These include a stovepipe that extends from the stove itself to the chimney. 


Some people may confuse these chimneys with masonry chimneys, however, they are fundamentally different. 


Although both share a rustic feel, masonry chimneys cannot have a stovepipe direct through the roof. 


Why You Should Consider Buying a Wood-Burning Stove for Your Home

Why You Should Consider Buying a Wood-Burning Stove for Your Home

It might be a little early in the year to be thinking about something like the heating system of your home, what with it being the month of April and all. However, consider this— it’s always good to keep things in mind so you can plan in advance.


The wood-burning stove is a traditional home appliance that has been used since colonial times in America. It is typically made of metal— either steel or cast iron— and generates heat by burning wood in an enclosed chamber. 


They can be placed in almost any room of your home, but need a source through which emanating gas and fumes may escape the house. 


Although these old-fashioned ovens have been around for some time now, they have been becoming more and more popular among homeowners and interior designers. Wood-burning stoves serve the home not only in the practical sense of providing a heat source, but in the aesthetic sense as well. Rustic interior and exterior designs are all the rage for homeowners these days— it’s a  great way to arrange the home to capture the magical airs of earthiness and tranquility. What better way to complement your home than with an homage to yesteryear in the form of the ever-nostalgic wood-burning stove? 


Here are some other reasons why you should consider buying a wood-burning stove for your home.


Great Heat Output

Traditional fireplaces tend to lose a lot of their heat through the chimney. Wood-burning stoves, on the other hand, are better at heating the room because they provide a controlled burn— preventing the heat of the fire from escaping. 


Additionally, these stoves are effective at warming the room very quickly, in comparison to other heat sources. 


There are wood-burning stoves of various sizes and energy output levels, giving you options in choosing the right oven appropriate for the size of the room that it will be used in. 


Energy Efficient

For an appliance that was invented in the 1700s or so, the wood-burning stove is actually very energy efficient. Compared to the efficiency levels of an open fireplace— around 20-25%— a wood stove can reach levels up to 80% efficient. 



Even though technological advancements have led us to an age where we’re rarely disrupted by power outages, there are still natural disasters and extreme weather conditions that can cut off all our electrical energy sources. Winter has become particularly more unpredictable in more recent years, with many people across the country being met with electrical, gas, and oil shortages because of freezing conditions and flooding. This unfortunately means that a lot of people have been suffering through major parts of the winter without any heat source.


A wood-burning stove does not require any oil, electric, or gas power for it to function. It is reliable in all weather conditions, and will never let you or your family down with regard to keeping you all warm in your home when modern technology has failed you. 


Cozy Ambiance

This touches on an initial point we made in a way—i.e. the positive aesthetic attributes that a wood-burning stove brings to a room.


However, to be more precise, wood-burning stoves provide warmth in both a figurative and literal sense— literally in increasing the actual temperature of the room, and figuratively in the unique feeling it provides when the entire family is circled around it during the coldest of nights. 


Even watching the flames crackle as you exchange stories and unwind from the labor of walking through the cold conditions outside is enough to make the home feel even homier. 


Picture this— you and your family wrapped up in your robes and blankets, sipping hot tea, reminiscing, laughing, and having a warm moment, while the frost nips at your windows outside. Pretty, isn’t it?  

6 signs your chimney needs to be swept

6 Signs That Your Chimney Needs To Be Swept

What’s better than the entire family sitting around the fireplace on a cold evening— swapping funny stories and sipping hot chocolate? The short answer is: no feeling really gets better than that. 

Now, we know that it’s springtime in April and that we’re a long way from the winter cold (most of us are concerned with booking our summer vacations and building those summer tans, that’s for sure). But isn’t it best to make sure that our heaters and chimneys are in tip-top shape for the winter ahead of time, instead of being met with any unpleasant surprises when December rolls around?

To get the most of our fireplace in the winter— or the fall— it’s important that we maintain and clean out our chimneys periodically, and we want to help guide you in all your chimney-sweeping needs. 

Here are 6 signs that your chimney needs to be swept: 


1. Weakly burning fire

If you felt like you were struggling to start a fire in your fireplace the last time it was cold, it might be because your chimney is clogged, or that there’s a problem with the fireplace damper. Both these issues can prevent a fire from receiving a sufficient oxygen supply in order to burn properly.


2. Oil spots on your fireplace walls

Those oily black spots on your fireplace’s walls are creosote— a tar-like substance. Creosote can build up all the way through the top of your chimney, ultimately blocking the flow of air to and from your fireplace. This lack of regular airflow over time can cause fires to burn irregularly.


3. Odors emanating from your fireplace

Creosote has a strong, potent odor similar to that of a campfire, that can be smelled in any area around the fireplace. You might enjoy this particular smell (who doesn’t enjoy the memories of the summer outdoors and s’mores associated with that nostalgic campfire smell?), but it is typically a sign that there is a deadly buildup of creosote in your chimney. This buildup can catch fire in the future, causing terrible damage to your home and all your belongings in it. 


4. Animals are inside your chimney

Animals nesting in your chimney (usually unbeknownst to you) can block the airflow and tragically catch on fire while you burn wood in your fireplace. The most commonly found in chimneys are bird nests, usually at the very top— covering the vents. Squirrels also sometimes build nests in chimneys. 


5. Smoke isn’t rising up 

If you find that smoke isn’t rising up your chimney the way in which it used to, it may very well be time for you to sweep your chimney. Air should always flow upward and out of the chimney top, but again, a layer of creosote can prevent this from happening. 

6. Soot is falling from the chimney 

Finding chunks of soot or creosote falling onto your wood from the chimney is another sign that there is a creosote buildup problem that needs to be addressed. 


These signs are generally quite easy to spot, but it is imperative for the safety of you, your family, and your home that you take the next step and hire a professional chimney sweeper to clean your chimney, ultimately alleviating the risk of potential fire damage in your home in the future. 


A Step in Time Chimney Sweeps has been offering chimney cleaning, chimney inspections, and chimney repairs for over 20 years. A Step in Time is currently offering NFPA level 1 chimney inspections at $85 and chimney sweep for open fireplaces at $159. For homeowners, we will come to your home, provide detailed inspection photos, and educate you on state building codes regarding the safety of your fireplace. This service is heavily discounted. We are so confident that you will be impressed with our professionalism, quality of service and knowledge we provide, that you will become our customer for life.

Best Times of the Year to Get Your Chimney Serviced

Best Times of the Year to Get Your Chimney Serviced

When the frigid temps, ice, and wind of winter arrive, you’re glad you have your chimney to keep you warm. However, in order to ensure the safety of your family and home, you need to make sure that your chimney is properly serviced. According to experts, chimneys, fireplaces, and vents should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year. Don’t wait until Old Man Winter arrives to have your chimney serviced! Calling in a professional well before the cold weather arrives is your best bet.

Why Have Your Chimney Serviced During the Spring or Summer

So, why is it better to have your chimney serviced when the weather is warm? There are several reasons, actually. Here’s a look at just a few.

To beat the traffic. Many homeowners wait until right before cold weather arrives – or when it has already blown in – to have their chimney serviced. As such, professional chimney servicing companies experience a lot of traffic during this time of the year. If you wait until then, too, you may have a hard time getting an appointment and may not be able to use your fireplace when you actually need it (or you could be tempted to use it before it’s serviced, creating an unsafe situation).

To ensure safety. By avoiding the traffic that’s associated with late-season chimney servicing, you’ll have a lot easier time getting an appointment with a professional. When your chimney is serviced, you’ll have confidence knowing that it’s safe and ready to use when the cold weather does arrive. Plus, it’s safer for the technicians who will be servicing your chimney to do the job when the weather is warm, as they won’t have to contend with the snow, ice, and other dangerous conditions.

To save costs. Another good reason to have your chimney serviced during the warm weather is the amount you’ll save. Professional chimney servicing companies tend to charge more during the cold-weather season, as the traffic for these services is a lot higher. During the spring and summer, when business is slower, these companies tend to charge significantly lower rates.

The Best Woods to Burn in Your Fireplace

The Best Woods to Burn in Your Fireplace

Whether you have recently bought a new home with a wood-burning fireplace, or you are only just beginning to explore the possibility of using the fireplace that’s been dormant since you moved in, there’s no doubt that wood-burning fireplaces are incredible. Not only will your fireplace allow you to enjoy cozy nights in of the kind central heating simply doesn’t offer, but using your fireplace regularly also leads to significant savings.

While any wood can catch fire, however, not all woods make for excellent fuel for your fireplace. Wet firewood won’t burn well, will create more smoke than you can comfortably handle, and also damages your chimney by producing nasty, tar-like, creosote in abundance. Hard and seasoned woods offer more heat without unwanted side effects, as well as burning for longer.

What, then, are the best woods to burn in your fireplace, and which woods should you steer well clear of?


Widely known as the best quality firewood, oak wood burns slowly and evenly while offering you plenty of that radiant heat. It is the perfect wood to burn in your fireplace during the colder winter months, when you need a fire you can rely on. Because oak does need to be well seasoned to burn properly, some advance planning is required. If you find it hard to ignite, combine your oak wood with less dense woods to get your fire going.


White maple, hard maple, and Norway maple are all examples of maple wood that are great for your wood-burning fireplace. Although it can be tricky to get a fire going with these dense woods, seasoned maple burns slowly and consistently, and as a bonus, this wood is easy to get your hands on in North America.

Douglas Fir

As far as softwoods go, Douglas fir is very high in density, burning more slowly than many other evergreens. Two further advantages are that it’s available almost anywhere and that it’s easy to start a fire with Douglas fir, making it a great choice for kindling. Some people will love the pine smell it produces, while others will not be fans. Because you do have to watch out for creosote buildup, it’s essential to have your chimney inspected every season if you choose to burn Douglas fir in your fireplace.


Birch is known to produce a stunning flame as well as provide a solid heat source, but because this wood does burn quickly, you are best off combining it with hardwoods for a lasting fire. Due to the fact that burning unseasoned birch produces significant amounts of creosote, it is crucial to make sure your birch is dried properly for at least a year.


Ashwood is another popular firewood choice, and that’s because it is safe to burn even when it is not seasoned, as this wood has very little moisture. Ash produces a reliable, uniform, burn even when you don’t mix it with other types of wood. This wood will not create too much smoke, and even beginners can successfully start fires with it. Although numerous species of ash are on offer, white ash is widely considered to be the absolute best for your fireplace.

Woods to Stay Away From

Chemically-treated woods, like leftover pallets, may be easy to come by as well as creating quite the pyrotechnics show in your fireplace, but watch out — these woods can be toxic and should be avoided. Driftwood is a bad choice for your fireplace for a similar reason; the salt found in these woods alone offers your local chimney technician a guarantee that they’ll have plenty of work to do, very soon. Green, unseasoned, wood is another category to steer well clear of. The tell-take crackling sound will warn you that it’s just not ready yet.

How Often You Should Service Your Chimney

How Often You Should Service Your Chimney

Chimneys are the best way to vent the smoke from your fireplace, but in order for them to do their job, they need to be serviceable. Your chimney is the main method that soot, smoke, ash, and other toxins are shuttled away from your home and funneled outside. Just like any other appliance or physical element in your home, it needs proper care and maintenance. If you are not sure when or how to service your chimney, we have some suggestions to help you get started.

Inspect Your Chimney Once A Year

It is important to have your chimney inspected at least once per year. The best time to inspect it is during the early fall, or at the end of the summer. Those who use their chimney more often can have it inspected twice a year just ahead of a high usage season. Following the inspection, most homeowners schedule a cleaning by a chimney sweep. This ensures that the venting systems are clean and free from blockages or buildup. Regular cleanings can also prevent the need for costly repairs due to chimney fires or other preventable issues.

When To Schedule A Chimney Inspection

For homes that have not had a chimney inspection in more than a year, an inspection should be scheduled as soon as possible. Regardless of the date of your last imperfection, if your fireplace, chimney, or heating system show signs of performance issues, it is a good idea to have them inspected for faults. New homeowners or renters should also have the fireplace and the chimney inspected prior to its first use. Waiting until there is a problem will often result in costly repairs or even accidents in some cases.

If you upgrade any part of your venting system or change your heating elements, you should have your chimney inspected to ensure it is working properly. Unused fireplaces and vents are attractive targets for animals and pests. Their nest can clog up the chambers and flue which will result in smoke pouring into your home when you light your fireplace. Winter also takes a toll on the liner and bricks in the chimney; inspections can spot both issues while they are easy to repair.

What Does A Chimney Sweep Do?

A chimney sweep will get rid of blockages, built-up creosote, and soot from all areas of your chimney. They will also inspect your chimney for damage, cracks, or other problems that can negatively affect how well it performs. It is important to clean and maintain your chimney in order for your heating system to operate safely. Creosote glazing especially needs to be removed on a regular basis. This highly flammable buildup can lead to fire or worse.

How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney?

For homes that only use their stove or fireplace occasionally, annual inspections and cleanings twice a year are usually enough. If you use them more often, inspections should occur once or twice a year. It is a good idea to have the furnace flues, stove systems, heating venting systems, and chimneys cleaned once per season or once every four months. This will ensure that there is no dangerous build-up and that your system remains clear and in proper working order.

What Is The Best Time For Chimney Cleaning?

The best time to clean or service your chimney will depend on the typical burning season in your area. Mid-spring or even early fall is ideal because it is close enough to the time that you will use your fireplace, but far enough away that you have time to fix any problems.

The Anatomy Of Your Average Chimney

The Anatomy of Your Average Chimney

Your chimney is an important part of your home. It is a structure that has a purpose and serves a specific function, but do you really understand how it works? Most people think that you just toss wood on the fire and gather around on a cold day. While this is certainly true, your chimney is working overtime to process the smoke as the fire is burning down below. In addition to providing heat, fireplaces offer a great deal of aesthetic appeal. In order to keep your fireplace and chimney in good working order, it is important to understand its anatomy.

Anatomy of Your Chimney

Before we talk about your chimney, it is a good idea to identify which fireplace you have installed in your home. There are factory fireplaces and masonry fireplaces. Masonry fireplaces are crafted out of brick and mortar while factory fireplaces are made from a metal firebox attached to a pre-built chimney. Depending on the model there may be additional features, but for now, we are going to stick to standard models.

Chase Top

While this may look like the cap, but is not, it is actually the part that encompasses and covers the top of the chimney. This part of the chimney is tasked with draining water and condensation away from the top so that it doesn’t pool.


This is the part that connects the chimney with the fireplace. They are in the top part of the firebox and will close when there is no smoke to vent to the outside. You can activate it with a pulley or lever, and keeping them closed correctly will prevent energy loss.

Chimney Cap

This is most often found in prefabricated chimneys. This attachment sits at the top of the opening of the flue. It helps to keep the rest of the chimney safe from water damage. It will stop rain and other moisture from settling into the cracks and it will also keep nosey critters from climbing down the chimney. In mason work, this is referred to as the chimney crown.

Smoke Chamber

Commonly found on masonry fireplaces, this helps to shuttle gas from the firebox into the flue. The slop is crafted in a way that will ensure the gas is gently compressed to prevent a backdraft.


This part of the chimney is on the inside. It is a duct that takes the products of combustion and transfers them outside of the home. It is critical that your flue liners are structurally sound to keep your substrate safe from corrosion and heat.

Chimney Chase

This is the most visible part of a chimney. You can cover it in a variety of materials to make it visually pleasing or even to match the decor of a home. It is tasked with concealing the flue in the chimney.

How A Chimney Works

The purpose of your chimney is to vent smoke from the combustibles used in your stove or fireplace. The gas and smoke will rise up through the draft and flow process. The more flame in your fireplace, the higher the warm gas will rise in the flue and cold air outside will be pulled down to encourage combustion. The pressure in your chimney on the inside of your house needs to be monitored to prevent improper flow.

The main things that affect the draft and flow process, specifically the pressure is the air movement in the home, the amount of air in the space, and how much competition there is for cold air outside the chimney. If you have windows open, or if your home is not properly insulated, it can lead to poor chimney performance. This can be as simple as a fireplace that doesn’t produce much heat to copious amounts of smoke blowing back into the house instead of venting outside. Understanding the anatomy of your chimney is the best way to ensure that you operate your fireplace in a way that allows it to work efficiently.

Here’s What To Expect When Getting Your Chimney Inspected

Here’s What To Expect When Getting Your Chimney Inspected

If you are busy, do not use your fireplace all the time, or you are simply not sure about what you are supposed to do, it is quite easy to fall behind on maintaining your fireplace. Unfortunately, not keeping your fireplace properly maintained can be dangerous.

With use, the gases, smoke, and particles from each fire that you burn will create buildup within the chimney. The residue left behind is creosote and it is a very flammable substance. When this builds up, it can cause the chimney to catch on fire.

When the buildup of creosote starts, it is easy to remove with a brush. However, if it builds up over time, it can be very difficult to remove. If it goes on for too long, the only way to remove it might be to have the liner completely replaced.

How Often Should You Have Your Chimney Inspected?

According to NFPA and CSIA, you should have your chimney inspected at least once per year. This can help detect possible issues and help to keep your family safe.

What Does a Chimney Inspection Consist of?

When you schedule an inspection for your chimney, the professional inspector will look over your chimney and note any obstructions, buildup, or structural issues. Additionally, they will typically sweep through the chimney to make sure that they have an accurate view of your system. The inspector will then recommend any work that they feel is necessary.

Inspection Levels

Depending on the chimney’s condition, there are three levels of inspection. The first level involves examining all of the portions of the chimney that can be easily accessed to make sure that they are all working properly. If you have not had any issues with your chimney, this will likely be the level of your yearly inspections.

The second level of the inspection typically involves the inspector using equipment such as a camera in order to look at the inside of your chimney. This allows them to look over all of the areas. This type of inspection is recommended if there have been any types of changes made to your chimney. If you are going to sell your home, you will have to have at least a level two inspection is done on your chimney before selling.

The final level is the most thorough inspection of every part of the chimney. This includes hidden or covered areas that require special tools to reach. In some cases, demolition and rebuilding areas of the chimney are required, depending on the type of work that needs to be done.

Choose a Qualified Professional

Many people feel like they can maintain their chimneys on their own and do not need to call in a professional. However, when it comes to a proper inspection, only a professional is qualified to fully clean and inspect a chimney to ensure that it remains safe for use. These professional chimney sweeps understand what to look for and often use cameras that are specifically designed to inspect chimneys.

Basic cleaning and inspection will typically cost anywhere from $79 to $200. A higher level inspection is going to be more. Level 2 inspections typically range from $100 to $500. A level 3 inspection is going to cost anywhere from $1000 to $5000.

It is important to make sure that you use a certified chimney sweep for your cleaning and inspection. Ask for credentials and how long they have been in business. If you are quoted a price that seems too good to be true, chances are that it is.

Things You Should Know About Getting Your Chimney Serviced

5 Things You Should Know About Getting Your Chimney Serviced

There is something wonderful about having a fireplace in your home. It offers a great place to snuggle up on a cold winter night. A fireplace also provides warmth throughout your home, which helps to cut costs on your heating bills during those really cold nights. If you have a fireplace in your home, it is important to make sure that you are keeping the chimney clean. Dirty chimneys can be quite dangerous as they pose a great fire risk.

Having your chimney serviced yearly is recommended. Here are 5 things that you should know and ask about before you hire someone to service your chimney for you.

1. How Much Does it Cost and How Long Will it Take?

One of the biggest questions that you might have about having your chimney serviced is the amount of money that it is going to cost. When you are contacting a professional chimney service, it is important to be direct about the costs. You want to make sure to ask if they are going to do a full inspection along with the cleaning or if they are just going to clean it out. It is important to know the types of services that you are getting for the estimate that you are given.

You will also want to make sure that you ask them how long it will take to service the chimney. Each flue is different, but a thorough cleaning of a chimney should take around an hour. If there is creosote present in your flue, the amount of time can increase. Blockages and damages to any part of the flue can also increase the amount of time it takes to service the chimney.

Most companies will recommend having a chimney cleaned about once per year. However, a professional will be able to estimate how long you can go between cleanings based on your particular uses.

2. How Will You Clean the Chimney?

A chimney professional should be able to provide you with the steps that they are going to take in order to clean the chimney. In addition, you should be given information about how your home will be protected during the entire service project.

3. Is Creosote Present?

When you are having your chimney serviced it is important to make sure that you ask if there is any creosote present. Creosote is a very flammable substance and if it is present in your chimney it could be indicative of poor burning practices. It also could mean that there is damage to your flue or chimney. You should be aware of creosote presence, how it will be removed, and what you need to do to help limit or prevent it from happening again.

4. Servicing other Flues

If you have other flues in your home, you might want to ask if the professionals can service these as well. You might be able to get a break in pricing for having more than one chimney/flue serviced at once.

5. Certifications

A person may be very skilled at servicing chimneys and not have any type of certification. However, it can be comforting to know that when you hire a professional service, they are backed by certifications from F.I.R.E., CSIA, and NFI. These are all national institutes that will guarantee that the person servicing your chimney has been through proper training. There are also regional organizations that offer training and certifications as well.

Asking how long the company has been in business is another way to establish the type of experience the professional has.