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6 Signs That It’s Time to Schedule a Chimney or Fireplace Cleaning

For homeowners in Kansas City, it’s not always obvious when the chimney or fireplace requires cleaning because they’re used a few months out of the year. However, ensuring the safety and efficiency of your fireplace and chimney—and therefore your family and home—can’t be put off or ignored.

The question many of our clients ask is, “How do I know if my chimney or fireplace requires cleaning or maintenance?”. The timing is important since the need for professional cleaning can save you from unnecessary expenses and, more importantly, protect your home and loved ones from potential hazards.

Fire-related incidents with fireplaces often stem from neglect, with fires that are not watched closely or put out completely at the top of the list, closely followed by fireplaces that lack regular maintenance and cleaning.

Schedule a Fireplace Inspection in Kansas City

Kansas City fireplace service and chimney cleaning experts advise having your chimney and fireplace inspected at least once a year. This inspection is crucial for identifying obstructions that could have formed, especially after the nesting season. However, if you’ve recently moved or it’s been a while since the last inspection, it’s smart to schedule a check-up, regardless of the time of year. At minimum, a fireplace and chimney inspection will determine whether maintenance or service is needed.

You can schedule a chimney inspection in Kansas City with us online. Click Chimney Inspection under Service Request Forms.

How Can I Tell if My Chimney or Fireplace Needs Cleaning?

Recognizing the need for cleaning isn’t always straightforward, as the interior workings of a chimney aren’t easily visible. Yet, there are several indicators that signal a cleaning might be overdue:

  1. Persistent Odor: A lingering scent of burnt wood from the fireplace, even when not in use, can indicate excess soot or creosote buildup.
  2. Inefficient Burning: Difficulty in lighting or maintaining a fire could point to airflow issues due to a clogged chimney.
  3. Smoke Intrusion: Smoke entering the room instead of rising through the chimney could mean blockages or problems with the flue.
  4. Creosote Accumulation: A black, tar-like substance on the damper or inner walls of the fireplace is a clear sign of creosote, which requires immediate attention.
  5. Oily Residues: Like creosote, oily marks on the fireplace walls suggest the presence of this flammable substance.
  6. Unwelcome Guests: Sounds or evidence of animal nesting in the chimney can cause significant blockages and require professional removal.

What You Should Know About Creosote

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) suggests cleaning once there’s a 1/8-inch build-up of soot or creosote, whereas the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends annual inspections and cleanings to ensure safety, regardless of usage frequency. Our advice aligns with ensuring a yearly inspection and cleaning to prevent the buildup of harmful substances and ensure your chimney is free of any obstructions, such as animal nests.

Do Gas Fireplaces Need Annual Cleaning?

While gas fireplaces may seem maintenance-free, they also require an annual inspection. Although gas fireplaces do not produce soot or creosote, they can still become obstructed by animal nests or other debris.

Can You Perform Chimney or Fireplace Cleaning Yourself?

Due to the messy and intricate nature of chimney and fireplace cleaning, most Overland Park and Kanas City homeowners opt for professional chimney sweep services. When choosing a service provider, look for credentials from reputable organizations like the National Chimney Sweep Guild or the Chimney Safety Institute of America. In Kansas City, Complete Home Concepts is trusted as a credentialed chimney sweep service ready to ensure your fireplace and chimney are in optimal condition for your safety and enjoyment.