Is Your Chimney and Fireplace Ready for Winter?

fox valley fireplace cleaning

Even though the warmth and humidity of summer is still upon us, now is the time to start thinking about the safe operation of your chimney and fireplace for the upcoming fall and winter season. Appointments with Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration fill up fast come September and October, so now is the time to contact us to get on our schedule.

What to expect during a chimney inspection

If you’re a regular customer of Valley Chimney Sweep, you’ll know the routine for our annual inspection pretty well. However, if you’ve just moved into a new home with a chimney and it’s your first time, you may wish to familiarize yourself with our process.

Before a chimney sweep arrives

As a homeowner, there are a few simple steps we ask that you take before we arrive at your home. The first is to remove loose items from in and around the fireplace, including any decor. We are very careful when we’re in your home, but we would hate to damage grandma’s treasured clock during our work.

You’ll also want to be prepared to answer a lot of questions. To perform a thorough inspection, we will want to know a complete history of your system. If you’re new to the home, no worries, we’ll be able to take a full assessment when we begin the inspection process.

When we are in your home

As certified chimney sweeps with the Chimney Safety Institute of America, we provide three different levels of chimney inspections. The National Fire Protection Association is the United States’ governing body when it comes to standards set for chimney inspections.

The NFPA outlines three levels of chimney inspection, depending on what has triggered the inspection. In general, the greater the number level of inspection the more detailed the inspection will be. To read more about the levels of chimney inspections, check out our past blog on the topic.

When our chimney sweep arrives at your home we will first inspect the inside of the fireplace or wood stove. At that time, we will decide if a cleaning is necessary.

If you need a cleaning, we will lay a drop cloth in front of the fireplace to protect the area. We will then bring in equipment to clean and remove all soot and ashes in your system. We may also climb the roof and inspect the chimney from the top down.

The damper will be removed and inspected and the flue cleaned from the roof or from any applicable chimneyed appliance opening (if possible). Next, the fireplace smoke shelf and smoke chamber will be inspected and cleaned.

Then the firebox will be inspected and cleaned by hand. All debris is removed and the damper then is re-installed. If there is tar or glazed creosote present in the chimney, homeowners are notified if it is too much for a regular cleaning. If so, a more thorough cleaning process will be recommended.

After a chimney inspection and cleaning

There are a couple steps you can take to help keep your chimney system clean and safe throughout the year. One of the biggest steps you can take is to keep your fireplace area clear of debris. It’s important to not allow the buildup of ash and other debris in your fireplace. Do your best to sweep away all old ash or bits of wood before lighting up your next fire.

Only burn dry, seasoned wood in your fireplace or wood-burning stove. Burning trash or pieces of cardboard could not only release harmful chemicals into your home, but also lead to damage to your chimney system.

Finally, if you notice any abnormal issues throughout the year, such as odors or heavy soot buildup, contact Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration right away. Do not attempt to make chimney repairs on your own. This is a dangerous job and the margin for error is too narrow if mistakes are made.

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“Yesterday Terry and his crew came out and inspected, repaired, and cleaned my fireplace. This is the first time that I have used their services. They were very efficient, they totally cleaned up after themselves.  They educated me better on the fireplace that I have in my home. They did an amazing job! Also, they had heard that I was having a drain issue in my basement and referred a plumber to me - how awesome is that?! Highly recommend!!!! I live in Aurora township - on the border of Montgomery. Thanks so much!”

‐ Kathleen K.

Aurora, IL

8940 B Route 34
Yorkville, IL 60560

(630) 553-5995

Service over 30,000 clients across the western suburbs of Chicago