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Chimney Sweep FAQ's

Why should I have my chimney inspected?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, chimney’s should be inspected or cleaned annually. The chimney and fireplace / furnace system is quite complicated and an inspection can alert you to a potential problem before it becomes a costly repair or a safety issue. Many times homeowners are unaware of problems that may exist.

There are 3 levels of Chimney Inspections that can be done depending on each individual case. It is always a good idea to schedule your inspection and cleaning in the late summer or early fall, before you begin using the chimney or furnace during the heating season. Many of our customers request to be on a regular annual schedule for this work. Another important time to schedule an inspection is if you have changed to a new furnace or if you have just purchased the home and want to be sure about the condition of the chimney system.


How does a Chimney Sweep clean a chimney? Will it make a mess?

At Lehigh Valley Chi…

Stages of Creosote

Creosote is a carbon-based particulate that is carried up the chimney in the smoke given off by a fire. It is left behind when condensation occurs as a result of heated vapors making contact with the cooler brick or metal flue. Their formation occurs in three stages and creosotes are combustible in all of them.

Stage 1 :  The first stage of creosote formation is a fine powder that can easily be swept out of the chimney with a brush long enough to reach the entire flue. The easiest type of creosote to deal with, stage one creosotes can cause slow-burning chimney fires which often go undetected by the homeowner. Creosote in this stage is soot, made up of carbon particles and ash.

Stage 2: In its second stage, creosote takes the form of crunchy rock-like deposits and is more difficult to remove, requiring stiff brushes and scrapers. Creosote is porous in this stage and may at first be flaky, puffy bubbles of unburned carbon that can be broken up and scraped off.

Stage 3:  Stage three creos…

Chimney and Fireplace Anatomy and Definitions

Listed below are chimney and fireplace terms and definitions as well as a diagram of a traditional masonry fireplace and chimney.



Anatomy of a Chimney
Chimney Crown – Your chimney crown protects your chimney from water damage entering through small cracks. Without a proper chimney crown- or if you have a cracked one, rain water seeps into the bricks and mortar of your chimney structure. Even minute amounts of water can result in brick flaking, mortar deterioration, and unsightly salt deposits on your chimney. Eventually, the bricks and mortar break up enough that the chimney is no longer structurally sound. 
Flue – A flue is simply a passage for conveying exhaust gases from an appliance to the outdoors. A flue may be a duct, pipe, vent, or chimney. An unlined chimney is technically a flue, even though an unlined chimney is a fire hazard.
Flue Lining – For a safe flue, a lining must be used to ensure minimal accumulation of flammable debris. This lining should be stainless steel or speci…

Choosing the best wood for your fireplace or wood insert

If you burn wood to heat your home you undoubtedly have an interest in choosing woods that are clean-burning and productive in terms of heat produced. You will get the best results and generate more heat per wood volume when burning the highest density (heaviest) wood you can find.
Dense firewood will produce the highest recoverable British Thermal Units (BTUs), but all wood must be "seasoned" for optimum heat production.The seasoning process is simply a matter of allowing the wood to dry in order to lower the moisture content. Dry wood burns more efficiently, with fewer hydrocarbons going up the chimney. It's estimated that even a mildly wet log loses fully 5% of its available energy vs. burning a dry log. When burning a wet log, a considerable amount of energy is spent driving off the water, which reduces efficiency.
The Best Woods to Burn by Species There are several variable properties in different wood species that affect the chances for sustainable, cleaner heat. T…