RAW Chimney Sweep & Inspections - Interview

Interview

Cozy evenings in front of the fireplace?

18 days ago

Before the cool, crisp days of autumn make cozy evenings in front of the fireplace irresistible, take time to make sure your fireplace is as safe as it is inviting. Not usually a DIY chore, it’s best to hire a certified chimney sweep to tackle this job. That’s because cleaning and inspecting chimneys involves a lot more than just sweeping soot.

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Cylex: Why should the chimney be inspected?

RAW Chimney Sweep & Inspections: Chimneys accumulate a flammable substance known as creosote on the inside walls, if left and not cleaned this can cause a partial blockage or a serious fire hazard.  Part of the inspection is to determine creosote deposits.  However, it does go further, a chimney inspection will also look for defects or damage to the chimney both the outside and inside, this is to help ensure the chimney is performing properly and that in the event of a chimney fire it is able to provide as much protection to the house as possible.

Cylex: How is the cleaning done? Is it messy and does it take long?

RAW Chimney Sweep & Inspections: Cleaning can be done the old fashioned way with rods and brushes, however many today are cleaned with a power sweep.  This is a tool powered by a powerful drill which has several long plastic whip like pieces that rotate at high speed and pulverize the creosote into a fine powder.  Many chimneys clean much better with a power sweep than a traditional brush and the power sweep is typically less damaging to older or weak chimney structures.  As far as mess, a cloth or plastic cover is used to shield the inside of the stove or fireplace and prevent dust from entering the hose.  A vacuum designed for chimney cleaning is used to clean up the mess.  Typically a job will take no longer than an hour, however some difficult sweeps with heavy deposits may take longer.

Cylex: Are all chimney sweeps basically the same?

RAW Chimney Sweep & Inspections: No, there are some who buy a brush at a hardware store and call themselves sweeps.  Then there are those who take the time to become properly educated, earn credentials and buy professional high quality equipment.  While the later may cost more, generally you will find it is money well spent.

Cylex: How can a sweep help someone to maintain a safe home?

RAW Chimney Sweep & Inspections: The sweeping and cleaning can reduce the risk of a chimney fire, which can be a serious risk to the home, contents and residents.  The chimney sweep is also often a good source of knowledge in using the wood stove or fireplace properly.

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Cylex: Is Carbon Monoxide poisoning possible if the chimney is not clean? Why is that?

RAW Chimney Sweep & Inspections: Carbon monoxide is always possible from any stove or fireplace, regardless of the fuel burned.  However, with wood, as creosote can build deposits and cause chimney restrictions, the possibly can increase as the restrictions and deposits become larger.  The flue gases (smoke) needs to go somewhere and restrictions cause lower pull from the chimney and higher probability that some will enter the home.

Cylex: Is there anything that could go wrong while you are cleaning the chimney?

RAW Chimney Sweep & Inspections: Hopefully not.  But there are always risks.  These can range from injury - as often the sweep needs to go onto the roof - to having to replace parts of the chimney - the chimney liner - etc.  Often times when a chimney needs maintenance it is not found until the sweep is there.  So there can be unexpected costs and consequences of having the sweep come.  These problems can range from a leaking chimney, cracked or broken liners, loose or broken bricks or stones, dampers not working or  flashing damaged/missing. While the cost is unwelcomed, the potential for increased safety due to the necessary repairs should be looked on as a positive thing.

Cylex: Are there other services that you provide?

RAW Chimney Sweep & Inspections: Stove installation - stove repair - chimney installation - chimney repair - WETT Inspections (which is a code inspection for the insurance companies or often during a real estate transaction).

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Fireplace, stove, furnace and heating appliance systems are important to your home and families safety and not an area to neglect or cut corners on. Don’t risk the chance that an undiscovered defect could turn into an expensive repair or worse yet – a chimney fire.