One complaint we get from time to time has to do with a fire that used to burn so quick, bright and wonderful, and is now coughing and sniffling; trying to just get going. While this may be due to several issues, one of the most common has to do with the chimney cap being clogged. But if you don’t want to get on the roof, then you need to hire someone who can not only diagnose the problem, but can also give you the prescription to take care of it and get that fire burning brightly again!
If you have a chimney cap then you know it is a vital part of the chimney system keeping water out of the flue and animals out as well if you have a screened cap, which most people do have these days. While this is all great, there are a few downsides to having this type of cap. The main problem is the screen openings are so small that they can easily clog with debris from the outside and creosote and soot from the inside. Creosote is sticky and acts a bit like cholesterol in the bloodstream; once it starts sticking it eventually builds up into a clot. Once the screen clogs, it cuts off the oxygen the fire needs to burn properly.
What we do as your chimney professional is take the cap off and thoroughly clean it. We also look for any damage done to the cap or the top of the flue. There are times when the chimney cap will need to be replaced, though that is rare. While on the roof, we will check out the crown, chase, flashing and brick to make sure everything else is in good working order. Because we know if your chimney cap was this dirty, chances are good that it’s probably time for your chimney system to get a good sweeping and inspection.
For those who cannot believe that they burned enough wood to cause this type of obstruction, it may be the type of wood you are burning and not the amount. Of course, if you are burning more than a cord of seasoned hardwood per season, you will need maintenance at least once a year, if not more often. Just call us and we can help you put a plan together so you know your appliance is well cared for and safe.