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Chimney Maintenance

If you use your fireplace or a wood burning stove during the winter months, the National Fire Protection Agency recommends annual chimney inspections.

Soft woods such as pine, cardboard, paper and paper logs burned in a fireplace or stove release a residue that rises with the heat. This residue, called creosote, condenses and collects on the chimney walls. This residue can come in many different forms: powdery, sticky, thick, and chunky. Some of these residues are easier to clean than others. If your chimney does not have a cap, this problem can be compounded by animal nests, leaves, and other debris. If untended, these can ignite and lead to your house catching on fire.

Here are a few tips to help avoid a chimney fire:

  • Make sure you have a chimney cap to keep animals and debris out of your chimney
  • Have your chimney inspected for cracks
  • Only burn hard woods and avoid burning cardboard, paper, or Christmas trees, which can spark a fire.

There are chimney cleaning products on the market that claim to eliminate the creosote from your chimney without having to hire a professional. However, depending on the type and amount of build up, there is nothing as good as having a professional certified chimney sweep do the job.

Spring is a good time to arrange to have this work done, as the service

firms are not as busy (most people put the work off until the cold weather returns). A chimney inspection usually costs $30-$50. A chimney sweep will run between $60 and $130 --- depending on the amount of work that needs to be done. To find a certified, reputable chimney sweep, ask friends for recommendations or check with your local Better Business Bureau.

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