Let AAA Timberline handle your chimney maintenance and upkeep needs, including chimney sweeping and safety inspections.
Chimney Sweeping & Chimney Safety Inspections
The chimney that vents your home’s heating appliances is responsible for venting the poisonous and flammable exhaust gases safely away from your home – but often the chimney is the most neglected part of your home.
The NFPA recommends that for your safety, you have your chimney inspected at least every year.
The majority of chimneys that we service vent water vapor-producing appliances such as gas- and oil-fired furnaces, boilers and hot water tanks. Over time, the freeze/thaw of this acidic water vapor is what creates most damage to the masonry chimneys.
And the back up of poisonous exhaust gas into your home is an extreme safety and health hazard as a result of damaged chimneys.
In and out service; usually in under an hour.
Our CSIA certified chimney sweeps will be in an out of your home, leaving it as clean as when we arrived. AAA Timberline’s chimney sweeps are trained not only to do the job, but to leave your house as clean as when we arrived.
We can schedule your annual fireplace and chimney safety inspection date and time a year in advance and we will remind you each year when we’re getting close to your appointment time.
Maintain & Inspect
The remainder of chimneys we service are responsible for venting popular wood-burning systems, and a byproduct of wood burning is creosote – a highly combustible substance and can easily be set ablaze by an errant spark from a cozy wood fire.
As your wood fire burns, substances exit up into the cooler chimney, where condensation occurs, and the creosote residue accumulates and sticks to the inner walls of the chimney.
By using state of the art video inspection equipment, we can see the exact condition of your chimney’s interior.
The high temperatures of a creosote fueled chimney fire can cause the inner flue liners and the mortar that holds them together to crack and collapse. This allows the 2,000-degree temperatures and flames to spread to the combustible framing of your home.
Reduce the chances of experiencing a chimney fire or having poisonous exhaust gases back up into your home by following the recommendation of the National Fire Protection Association and have your chimneys and fireplaces inspected every year.
With our internal video inspection technology, we’ll let you watch what we’re seeing and talk over with you what our options are. Keep your home and your loved ones safe – contact AAA Timberline to schedule a chimney inspection or chimney sweeping appointment today.
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Get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about chimney inspections and chimney sweeping at AAA Timberline.
Do you perform safety inspections when sweeping chimneys?
Yes! Every time we sweep a chimney, we use a remote camera to inspect your chimney for safety.
Why should I have my chimney inspected?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, chimney’s should be inspected or cleaned annually. The chimney and fireplace / furnace system is quite complicated and an inspection can alert you to a potential problem before it becomes a costly repair or a safety issue. Many times homeowners are unaware of problems that may exist. There are 3 levels of Chimney Inspections that can be done depending on each individual case. It is always a good idea to schedule your inspection and cleaning in the late summer or early fall, before you begin using the chimney or furnace during the heating season. At AAA Timberline, many of our customers request to be on a regular annual schedule for this work. Another important time to schedule an inspection is if you have changed to a new furnace or if you have just purchased the home and want to be sure about the condition of the chimney system.
How often should I have my chimney swept?
This a tougher question than it sounds. The simple answer is: The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” This is the national safety standard and is the correct way to approach the problem. It takes into account the fact that even if you don’t use your chimney much, animals may build nests in the flue or there may be other types of deterioration that could make the chimney unsafe to use.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be swept at 1/8″ of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system. This is considered to be enough fuel buildup to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home. Factory-built fireplaces should be swept when any appreciable buildup occurs. The logic is that the deposit is quite acidic and can shorten the life of the fireplace.
I heat with gas. Should this chimney be checked too?
Without a doubt! Although gas is generally a clean burning fuel, the chimney can become non-functional from bird nests or other debris blocking the flue. Modern furnaces can also cause many problems with the average flues intended to vent the older generation of furnaces.
Yes, gas does burn clean, but you may still run into issues with the cooler gases that condense quicker. This allows for the formation of hydrochloric acid and the potential for a corrosive coating to build up in your flue. There is also the common problem of animals and birds building nests in these smaller venting systems. If there is debris that blocks or partially blocks your flue, harmful gases can build up creating unsafe operating conditions for your furnace or stove.
The biggest problems come when a customer buys a new appliance and hooks it into an older venting system. The requirements may be much different for the newer stove or furnace, creating a serious mismatch with the older flue system. A professional needs to examine the total venting system to be sure everything is up to an acceptable standard. Don’t count on your furnace installer or heating man to do this, it is not their job or field of expertise.
How does a chimney sweep clean a chimney? Will it make a mess?
At AAA Timberline, a chimney sweep means a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. So every technician that does chimney cleaning follows specific guidelines and procedures that guarantee a thorough and professional job. Our technician will be wearing our uniform and will have the CSIA badge with their name and registration number visible. Our work is done with a “NO MESS” guarantee. We put down clean floor coverings around your fireplace and always clean up all work areas. Our specialized tools and powerful vacuums will prevent any soot or dust from entering your home. The chimney is always cleaned from the bottom, reaching the firebox, smoke chamber, damper, smoke shelf, and flue liner.
Our qualified technicians are more than just chimney sweeps, they are fully trained at diagnosing potential problem areas in your chimney and venting system. If we see something that is not right, we will notify you and perform a more detailed inspection if necessary. We never do any repairs or work without the customers permission, but it is our duty to report on any deficiencies in the system. We advice that customers go ahead and have a full annual level one inspection along with their cleaning just to stay on top of any maintenance or safety issues that may be present.
How long does chimney cleaning usually take?
Many of our chimney cleanings also include time to do a top to bottom, inside and outside level one inspection as well, so time on those appointments varies. A typical chimney cleaning alone should be able to be finished in an hour.
What is creosote, how does it get in the chimney and why is it dangerous?
The CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) recommends that masonry chimneys should be cleaned when 1/4″ of sooty build-up and creosote is present. Factory built insert fireplaces can actually become a hazard with a much thinner build-up on the inside walls. Either type can reach a dangerous level after burning as little as a cord of wood, so your cleaning schedule may end up being 1 or 2 times per year. Even if you don’t use your chimney much, there is always the chance that animals have built nests during the summer that can form a blockage or things like leaves can accumulate during the Fall.
Natural gas is cleaner than wood, but the fumes actually create more water vapor than wood burning fires. This means more condensation in the chloride containing fumes, which can create a hydrochloric acid coating on the furnace flues. This is a highly corrosive agent and these systems should be checked at least once a year.
Are all chimney sweeps basically the same?
No. Just because someone says that they are a chimney sweep it does not mean that they are qualified. The chimney industry is not regulated by the government, but we do have professional industry standards that are certified by the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) and the NCSG (National Chimney Safety Guild). When we are talking about such a critical area of service to help keep your family and home safe, it does not make sense to take chances. Make sure you ask for proof of certification from the individual that is actually doing the work.
At AAA Timberline, each one of our professional uniformed technicians always carries their certification credentials. Many less scrupulous companies may only have one certified person and advertise that their business is fully certified. Then they send out less qualified workers with insufficient training to your home to actually do the work. The chimney industry is plagued with these pretenders that offer extremely low prices, but actually deliver an inferior and unsafe quality of work.
The other obvious thing to insist on is that the company that you hire is fully insured. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions of your chimney sweep company! With AAA Timberline, you will rest easier knowing that you invited a fully qualified, insured and certified sweep into your home. Our A rating with the Better Business Bureau should also set your mind at ease.
How can a sweep help me to maintain a safe home?
Take it from Ben Franklin – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That famous saying was actually in reference to fire safety. At the time, Franklin was forming the Philadelphia Union Fire Company, and wanted to help educate the public in order to protect them against the huge losses that families who experienced fires went through.
That adage applies today. The cost of a chimney sweep or inspection is insignificant when compared with the potential devastation that a chimney fire or carbon monoxide poisoning can cause. There is no doubt that the increase in proper chimney maintenance has saved many lives and billions in property damage.
Should I be concerned about carbon monoxide poisoning?
Carbon monoxide is produced whenever gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. Higher levels can be produced when your chimney is not functioning properly. This odorless gas can accumulate to dangerous levels when a blocked chimney or flue prevents the gases from properly venting out and away from the home. Hundreds die needlessly every year because of undetected problems with fuel burning appliances, stoves or fireplaces. Flues should be inspected routinely for rust, blockage and defects that may allow gases to back draft into the home.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea and fatigue. You should always have detectors installed in your home to guard against unsafe levels of this odorless, colorless gas. But don’t just rely on the detectors, make sure that your venting systems are inspected and in good working order at all times.
Do I need to be home all day to wait for the chimney cleaning?
We always strive to be prompt and on time. Since we are able to schedule appointments starting at 8 a.m., through to our last appointment at 3 p.m., you should be able to find a time when it will be convenient for you. There is also an opportunity to have work done on weekends if necessary.