Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: How often should I have my chimney swept/cleaned?

A: It depends on how much wood is used, what kind of wood it is, and the moisture level of the wood. Anytime you can see 1/8th inch of creosote buildup on the flue, cleaning is recommended. Once a year is normal for any chimney with a season’s use. Along with the sweep Oregon Chimney Guys will provide a written safety evaluation.

2. Q: Why do chimneys need to be cleaned?

A: When wood is burned the smoke goes up the flue. The smoke cools while going up the flue and dries in the form of creosote on the chimney walls. Creosote is a flammable material and can catch on fire inside the chimney flue. If it does catch it can burn even hotter than the fire in the fireplace and can spread to the wood framing of the house.

3. Q: Should I waterproof my chimney?

A: Water damage is the main reason chimneys need repair. A waterproofed chimney will last much longer before it has problems, in most cases. Bricks are porous and can allow water to pass through to the inside of the house, waterproofing prevents this from happening.

4. Q: Why is a chimney cap needed?

A: Caps prevent birds and other animals from making a home in your chimney. But the main reason to have a chimney cap is because it prevents damage caused by rain water that goes into an open flue hole. The following are problems caused by rainwater:

  • Water damage on ceilings, basements
  • Rusted dampers
  • Fire boxes cracking and wearing out faster
  • Mortar damage
  • Loose bricks
  • Brick faces splitting
  • Water leakage
  • Houses with “ash tray smell”

5. Q: How much does a chimney cleaning cost?

A: Wood Stove or Chimney cleaning is only $150.  Pellet Stove cleaning is only $185.

6. Q: What causes smoke to come back in my house when the fire is started?

A: Fireplaces smoke for many reasons. Here are a few main one

  • The home is too air tight, causing a backdraft.
  • Flue is cold and pushes air down. Warming the flue fixes this problem.
  • Other appliances in the home are sucking air out of the home and pushing them out causing air to move the wrong direction in the flue.
  • Opening of the fireplace is too big compared to the size of the flue.
  • Too short of a chimney flue. An addition flue tile installed usually fixes this problem.

7. Q: What are signs of unhealthy brick and mortar?

A: These are the following signs…

  • Loose brick
  • Brick discoloration
  • Worn away mortar
  • Cracks in brick or mortar
  • Face of brick chipping away