Below are some of our most frequently asked questions. For additional information and updates, please visit our Blog!
Why do I need to have my chimney “professionally” inspected and swept?
When you burn any solid fuel (such as wood), particulates called creosote form. Creosote is the residue that forms in the chimney flue when burning any solid fuel (like wood) that can contribute to the start of a chimney fire, which could spread into the home via a cracked or otherwise defective liner. By scheduling regular inspections, you’ll help ensure that creosote does not accumulate in your chimney to levels that could lead to a chimney fire.
How often should I have my chimney swept and inspected?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211 Standards state that, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Sweeping, maintenance, and repairs shall be performed if necessary.”
When I bought my home, the Home Inspector did an inspection of my chimney! Didn’t they?
Most Home Inspectors are not trained, prepared or equipped to properly look at a chimney system. It is the responsibility of the prospective homeowner to arrange for a professional inspection prior to signing on the bottom line!
What is causing my fireplace to smoke? What can I do about it?
If your fireplace is smoking, check for these things:
- Creosote buildup, animals and nesting materials, or other flue blockages
- Make sure your damper is open all the way
- Make sure your flue is the correct size
- Chimney height - you may need to have your chimney extended or a “draft inducing electric fan” installed
What about this chimney sweeping loggy thingy I saw on TV?
Seaside Sweep does not hold the opinion that something you burn in your fireplace or wood stove is going to detect, let alone repair, defects that may be present in your venting system. This “chimney sweeping log” is not capable of professionally examining the chimney flue. The TV commercials WARN YOU that using this product does not take the place of having a CSIA Certified Chimney Professional inspect your chimney system and to sweep it, if needed!
What is seasoned firewood?
Seasoned firewood is easier to start, produces more heat, and burns cleaner. Using quality, well-seasoned firewood will help your wood stove or fireplace burn cleaner and more efficiently.
What is the best way to store firewood?
Wood should be stored off the ground with just the top covered leaving the sides exposed to the drying effects of the sun and the wind. You never want to trap the moisture under a tarp or plastic. Do not store firewood near the house! All firewood has insects of some sort (think termites/roaches, etc.) that can infiltrate your home.
Should I use hardwoods or softwoods?
When comparing hardwoods vs softwoods, it’s the density of the wood that makes the difference. Hardwoods and softwoods will create the same amount of heat; however, due to the difference in density you may need twice the volume of softwood to compare to the same weight as hardwood.
What are ways to keep the fire I want from starting the fire I don’t?
- Have your fireplace or stove chimney inspected annually by a qualified (preferably a CSIA Certified) professional and swept if necessary.
- Burn only “seasoned” or cured wood!
- Build smaller “hotter” fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke.
- Never burn cardboard, wrapping paper or the Christmas tree! These items tend to “flare up” when burned and may cause a chimney fire.
- When using a stove, install a stovepipe or “probe” style thermometer to help you monitor your “true” burning temperature! If needed, this helps to adjust your burning habits to maintain proper temperatures to avoid excessive creosote buildup.
- If using a wood stove, clean and inspect the catalytic combustor (if applicable.) A cracked or broken catalytic combustor cannot perform as required and leads to more smoke particulates entering the atmosphere!
Does it matter if I just put my fireplace insert in the fireplace space?
Most fireplace inserts are pushed or shoved into the opening of a fireplace which is very dangerous! It is very important for your safety that you have a professional correctly install a fireplace insert to make sure it adheres to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 211 Standards.
Why do I need a chimney cap?
Without a chimney cap professionally installed on top of your chimney, rainwater and even birds, squirrels, raccoons, or other wild animals can enter the chimney. Both can cause unwanted odors, or mold and mildew issues, a potential health risk. A good quality chimney cap equipped with mesh metal sides should be professionally installed at the top of your chimney. We carry a wide variety of chimney caps, and we can recommend the best one for your chimney and then install it to protect your chimney from water and wild animals.
What are the different levels of fireplace inspection?
As per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211 Standards, there are three levels of chimney inspections.
If there have been no changes to your heating appliance or system, Level 1 inspection is appropriate for an annual service visit and during a flue cap installation. This inspection includes examining portions of the appliance and the chimney connection without disruption to the chimney structure or finish.
Level 2 is required when any change is made to your system or upon the sale or transfer of property. This level is also suggested when an operating malfunction or external event may have caused damage to the chimney or appliance. The inspection includes all services of Level I, plus the examination of accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including attics crawlspaces and basement. If needed, it can include a visual inspection or a video scan.
A Level 3 is conducted only after a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection indicates a hazard in concealed portions of the chimney and flue. It may involve the removal, and possibly demolition and destruction, of portions of the chimney or building structure, as necessary. Typically, special tools are used and may require access to concealed areas of the chimney and flue.