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Signs You Need a Chimney Sweep

The thought of a chimney sweep may conjure up scenes from Mary Poppins, whether goofy facial expressions of Dick Van Dyke or smudge-faced sweepers dancing on rooftops. Such Hollywood images may give the wrong idea and cause you to overlook signs you need a chimney sweep. The chimney sweeping profession is just as real today as the great smog of London that persists every winter. Thousands of U.S. households are endangered or destroyed by chimney fires every year. So, it’s a real safety issue to call on a chimney professional to schedule a chimney cleaning annually.

Dubuque Fireplace & Patio provides trusted chimney services in Dubuque IA and the surrounding area. Read on for signs that now is the time to give them a call.

chimney creosote build-up, apple canyon ilCreosote Buildup is Excessive

With each wood fire you burn, more creosote deposits are left in your chimney flue. Creosote is highly flammable. The tar-like substance is to blame for the soot stains on the faces of chimney sweeps in the olden days. It’s good that today’s professionals have equipment protecting them from the toxic substance. Excessive creosote buildup is as much a problem as ever for homeowners, however, potentially causing the following issues:

  • Increased risk of a dangerous chimney fire;
  • Bad odors invade your home in summer;
  • The flue is obstructed;
  • Lighting a fire becomes very difficult;
  • The fireplace is smoky; and
  • Home occupants are exposed to toxic substances.

Some chimney experts recommend annual chimney cleaning to remove creosote and others say it’s time to schedule chimney cleaning when creosote buildup measures 1/8” in the flue.

It’s the Off-Season for Chimneys

In spring and summer when the fireplace isn’t used, it’s the perfect time to check on the status of your chimney. Annual chimney inspections are recommended by all leading fire safety experts, and the off-season is the best time to schedule one. There are numerous problems that may be discovered because chimneys are highly prone to deteriorate. Issues may be caused by creosote, moisture intrusion, animals, and a range of currently unseen problems.

Routine chimney inspections cut overall maintenance costs. The most notable benefit is that hard-to-spot problems can be identified in the early stages. This prevents a small problem from becoming a major expense. When needed, chimney repair costs are also cheaper and more convenient in summer. After all, in Iowa, who wants to miss an opportunity to use their fireplace in winter?

The Chimney Masonry is Vulnerable to Damage

Various chimney components are designed to keep moisture out of the chimney masonry system. Those same lines of protection, however, are prone to deteriorate. Signs you need to call a chimney sweep include the following:

  • The mortar between bricks is flaking off
  • There are cracks in the chimney crown
  • The metal flashing has rusted
  • The flashing has pulled away from the chimney
  • Large cracks in the masonry are visible

Some require a rooftop viewpoint to identify, however, so the task is best left to chimney sweeps.

chimney cap install, galena iaThere is No Chimney Cap

A chimney cap is essential for every chimney, though it is considered an accessory. If there is no chimney cap or your chimney cap is damaged, immediate action is recommended. Chimney caps serve important functions that no chimney system can do without. They prevent rain, snow, hail, and ice pellets from getting inside your home. Equipped with mesh, chimney caps do the following:

  • Keep animals out, such as snakes, squirrels, raccoons, and birds;
  • Prevent debris from getting into your chimney flue
  • Stop sparks from starting rooftop fires.

Chimney caps ultimately prevent untold potential cost, hazards, inconvenience, and infiltration of damage and disturbing smells in your household.

Contact Dubuque Fireplace & Patio for Chimney Cleaning & More

If there are signs you need a chimney sweep, call on the NFI-certified chimney sweeps at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio. Don’t look for sooty faces or listen for a tap dance on the roof, though. Our clean-faced, experienced chimney technicians will arrive and provide prompt, reliable chimney services backed by a satisfaction guarantee. We provide masonry repair, flue liner replacement, tuckpointing, fireplace installation, and much more.

Book your appointment with Dubuque Fireplace & Patio by calling 563-582-5156 today, or send us a message on our website here.


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