The incomplete by-product of combustion of fuel oil is unburned carbon and sulfur – called oil soot. Oil soot accumulates on the walls and at the base of the chimney, which should be inspected and cleaned annually by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. Ask about warranties when you call Certified Chimney Inspections at 833-259-5360.
Most of our emergency service calls in the winter are from shut-downs or red tags by the oil or gas companies. This is because most homeowners are unaware that the chimney venting system for the furnace needs maintenance. Most find out after the chimneys are clogged or when the interior is collapsed that they need a chimney technician.
It is usually too late for a routine cleaning at this point and homeowners are stuck with emergency service call costs and blockage removals or repairs in order to get the heat and hot water turned back on. This could be avoided by routine maintenance and inspections of the furnace chimneys.
During the winter, the oil furnace is subjected to long running cycles, which will produce oil soot that may adhere to the sides of the chimney.
The accumulation of these soot deposits will fall to the base of a masonry chimney or directly into the top of the oil furnace if a metal chimney is located directly above the appliance. It will restrict the flow of flue gases, which consist mostly of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.
Combustion will also produce carbon monoxide (which is a dangerous gas when not vented properly), which will spill back into the house instead of going up the chimney when the chimney base is not properly cleaned.
Most homeowners have a big misconception that the oil service company takes care of the chimney. The oil burner company may shovel out the base of a brick chimney and brush out the connector pipes, but they will not clean the chimney.
Most furnace technicians fail to mention anything about the chimney, leading homeowners to believe everything is fine.
Some oil furnaces servicemen even tell the homeowner that the chimney is OK without inspecting the entire chimney, which includes going to the roof and inspecting the interior as well as the exterior masonry (if applicable), flashing, chimney cap, etc.
The National Fire Protection Assoc. 211 codes state that “Chimneys must be inspected and cleaned as necessary annually” – just like the oil serviceman services the furnace annually, so should the chimney system be serviced annually.
Many homeowners also may not be aware that the chimney’s interior, when not maintained, will decay and break down – just like neglecting your teeth and not having them checked annually may result in cavities; or if you don’t change the motor oil in your car for 50,000 miles, you can be sure something in the motor will break.
It’s the same thing with your chimney. As stated earlier, the incomplete by-product of combustion is soot, which contains carbon and sulfur. Sulfur, when mixed with rain water (from a missing rain cap) or moisture from the flue gases themselves is absorbed into the flue tile and starts a deteriorating process called flaking or spalling.
Just like tartar on your teeth, annual brushing will remove these soot deposits and keep the deterioration process to a minimum.
In metal chimneys, the interior lining is made from stainless steel, which will not rust but will corrode from the oil soot’s sulfuric acid reaction. This corrosion makes small pinholes which will ruin the integrity of the liner, which will not be able to hold the by-products of combustion.
When a clay lining in a masonry chimney flakes or a metal chimney’s insides corrode, they are unable to contain the heat and the flue gases, thus creating a potential fire and health hazard.
Annual inspection and cleaning by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep will find these problems and give you recommended corrective actions.
When our technicians arrive at your home to do the annual inspection and cleaning of the oil chimney, they will set up their equipment (vacuum, etc.), remove and inspect the connector pipes (the pipes from the oil furnace to the chimney) – careful as not to spill soot into the home.
The chimney connector will be cleaned and closed off so that when the chimney is swept, no soot will enter the home. An inspection of the exterior chimney will be made, the chimney swept, and then the interior of the chimney inspected for deterioration and soundness.
The sweep completes the exterior work while the other technician removes the soot that was brushed down the chimney. When the connector pipes are reinstalled, the furnace will be restarted and checked for proper chimney draft.
The National Fire Protection Agency recommends a yearly inspection, cleanings, and repairs as necessary.
Homeowners with oil fired furnaces and / or woodstoves, used to heat the home, should have a professional at their home every year.
Fireplaces need to be maintained and cleaned on a consistent basis as well. Usually a cleaning is needed every cord of wood burned.
Cleaning prices vary during the year, depending on the location and specials being offered. Ask our representatives about our specials when you contact us.
What we do is send a two-man crew. One man goes up on the roof and scrapes the chimney liner down with wire brushes. This removes the soot and / or creosote off the chimney walls. The other man vacuums out all the debris at the base. We guarantee no mess to the home.
We install stainless steel caps that are lifetime guaranteed. This is a one-time installation. A cap will keep out animals, leaves, twigs, and most of all rain.
Rain does most of the damage to chimneys by getting into cracks, freezing during the winter, and pushing at the masonry causing serious damage. A single flue cap chimney cap is generally installed start around $125. Custom caps that cover more than one flue are slightly higher. The technician will give you a price prior to installation.
We do everything and anything to do with chimney repairs. Our specialty is masonry repair and relining. If you have a problem with the chimney, we have the solutions. We are fully staffed with certified technicians all year round.
Currently, chimneys are built with terracotta clay tiles inside the brick structure. These tiles serve as a gas-tight and heat-resistant insulator against the masonry structure.
Without a liner or with cracked and damaged liners, there would be heat transfer or actual seepage through the brick and mortar. Surrounding the chimney is the structure of the home, which is usually wood.
A liner is a stainless steel tube inserted into a chimney to draft an appliance, furnace, woodstove, or fireplace. The appliance will vent through that stainless pipe and use the existing chimney as an encasement.
Liners are gas-tight systems and insulated for the highest efficiency. This solves most drafting and safety issues due to damaged or unlined chimneys.
There can be a number of reasons, most of which can be addressed on site by a chimney sweep and an inspection. There are many situations that can cause the fireplace odor. An improper burning technique, unseasoned wood, moisture and humidity, and negative pressure creating downdrafts, all can contribute to the smell of a fire without the fire.
Step 1 – Typically is to have the chimney cleaned and inspected.
Step 2 – Can be a rain cap to keep out rain or even better a top mounted damper that seals out rain and humidity. This would also prevent a downdraft carrying the odors of the chimney into the home. Unfortunately, there are cases when these solutions don`t always work and are much more difficult to assess by a simple inspection.
Negative air pressure in the home (especially newer tight homes) can reverse the flow of draft from the chimney back into the home.
Some cases of odor problems are due to exhaust fans, additional chimneys, central air systems, central vacuum, combustion appliance flues, range hoods and clothes dryers, etc., pulling air from the best makeup air source possible, your chimney.
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