Chimney sweeping needs to be performed routinely to clear the resin build-up caused by smoke cooling as it travels up the chimney and flue. This resin is called creosote and it builds up quickly. Left untreated, you are at risk of a fire in your chimney or flue. Any amount of creosote is combustible. You should call a certified chimney sweep to inspect your chimney immediately if you detect any form of creosote.

You might see soot build up from natural gas on the gas logs or the firebox. This buildup can be swept off with a soft bristle paint brush. Seldom does soot get into the smoke chamber or flue where it needs sweeping. I have seen some cases where it has, although these are very rare.

I received a call from a man saying he would start his gas log fireplace and the CO alarm would sound off. Upon inspection I found a squirrel’s nest half way down the flue. It was blocking the flue’s ability to remove the product of combustion, carbon monoxide, to the outside atmosphere. In a situation like this there is the potential for heat to reach the right conditions for a flue-fire to occur. A blockage removal was performed. Afterwards, a chimney cover was installed to prevent a future occurrence. Now the chimney is functioning as intended.

In another situation, spider webs built up in a factory built chimney so much so that the chimney could not function. A sweep of the flue system was performed, which returned the chimney to function as the manufacturer intended.

Both customers mentioned above were thankful that no harm had come to them or their homes.

NFPA 211 states chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected annually by a qualified agency. I recommend calling a qualified agency with a certified chimney sweep.

Robert Hoegner
RMR Chimney Sweep
2150 Touhy Avenue
Elk Grove Village, IL. 60007