Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should I have my chimney cleaned?
A: There is no steadfast rule on how often you should get your chimney cleaned. It can vary from once a month to every 5 years depending on a variety of factors. Frequency of cleaning will depend on:

  1. How often you use your fireplace. Obviously, persons who use their fireplace occasionally are not going to have to clean their flues as often as those who use them heavily throughout the season.
  2. The type of wood or fuel you use. Freshly-cut softwoods build up creosote more quickly than seasoned hardwoods. Wether you have a stove or fireplace insert. They usually require attention much more often than an open fireplace. Also, the way you operate your stove or fireplace can have an effect on the amount of creosote you accumulate.
  3. The severity of the burning season. Namely, the amount of wood you go through.
  4. The type of chimney construction you have can greatly influence how quickly creosote builds up and how often cleaning may be necessary.
As you can see, the number of factors which influence your chimney cleaning schedule are many.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends a yearly inspection and cleaning and repairs done as necessary.

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Q: How often should I have my chimney inspected?
A: All chimneys should be thoroughly inspected once a year by a chimney sweep. Never assume that your chimney is safe even if you seldom, or never, use it. There are a whole host of problems that could cause an unsafe chimney or fireplace. These problems could include:

  • cracks caused by builders negligence or normal settling of the chimney
  • lightning strikes
  • excessive use
  • moisture damage
  • nests or other obstructions

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Q: Why does my chimney need a cover?
A: Chimney flues are a cozy place for a variety of animals seeking shelter or nesting sites. Metal components of fireplaces or dampers can be expensive to replace, or the mortar of a chimney can be slowly eaten away. The simple installation of a chimney cap can prevent these inconvenient and costly problems.

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Q: What is our service area?
A: We generally service a 30 mile radius of Kansas City and will consider jobs up to 50 miles with a small additional fuel charge.

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Q: How long will it take to clean my chimney, and is there any mess?
A: It usually takes about an hour to clean most masonry chimneys including setup of tarps, vacuum, and tools and taking them down. Pre-fab fireplaces typically take about 35-45 minutes. Inserts can take from 1-3 hours depending on how often they are cleaned, the type of wood burned, and the way the stove is operated. (Chocked down to slow smolder type burning will produce more creosote taking longer to clean.)

We guarantee absolutely no mess in your home. We have tarps, vacuums and brushes to clean your chimney without making a mess in your house.

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Q: How do you clean a chimney?
A: We clean most chimneys from inside the home. Upon entering your home we are careful to find the best way for us to get equipment and personal in and out of your home. We need some space in front of the fireplace to spread out the 9 x 12 ft tarp that covers the carpet and hearth. "Special Stuff" on the mantel or walls above the fireplace is safe. If you want to remove items on the mantel please do. We set up all needed tools and our special chimney vacuum to aid in dust control. We wear coveralls, gloves and a respirator to protect us from harmful creosote dust and ash in the chimney. We assess the chimneys condition noting any problems and proceed with cleaning.

We start by removing the grates and any ash from the firebox. The walls and damper plate are brushed with a hand brush to remove any soot and creosote from this area. We remove the damper plate and handle (if possible) to check for rust and missing parts. While cleaning the firebox area we are checking for cracks in brick and missing or severely eroded mortar joints.

On "pre-fab" models fireplaces we are checking for cracks in the back and side refectory panels in the firebox. Some hairline cracks are acceptable and a part of normal operations, however we are looking for larger cracks and gaps that will allow fire to reach the metal box enclosure of the fireplace. This can cause damage to the firebox making it unsafe for use. These panels are replaceable so do not fear. We can most likely find and replace old damaged panel making your fireplace usable again.

On masonry chimneys we reach up inside the smoke chamber area with hand brush to clean the breast area and the sides where the larger brush misses.

Next, we insert a steel wire brush attached to a flexible fiberglass rod and clean the upper smoke chamber area. The brush is pushed up into the flue, working in a scrubbing motion with sections of fiberglass rods added until the brush exits the top of chimney.

The process is reversed, and the liner is checked for cracks, gaps and missing joints using a spotlight. We clean off debris that has fallen onto smoke shelf, the damper plate, handle and cotter pin is put back in place and dust is swept out of firebox. We vacuum off the hearth, and remove all equipment and tarp from your house, complete the invoice, get payment for the amount due, thank you for the business, sprinkle some good luck around and look forward to the next customers dirty chimney. The whole process takes about 1 hour more or less depending on conditions and such.

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Q: Do you install chimney caps?
A: Yes, We carry Stainless Steel and Copper Chimney Caps that carry a lifetime guarantee. A cap will keep out animals, leaves, twigs, and rain. Rain entering from the uncovered top, does most of the damage in a chimney by getting into the mortar joints inside the firebox causing them to become weak and deteriorate.

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Q: Can you do repairs?
A: Yes, we repair fireboxes, replace lost or damaged damper plates or install a top mount damper if a replacement plate is not available. We also repair crowns, install chimney caps, and waterproof chimneys. If you are having problems with your chimney, we can most likely find a workable solution.

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Q: What is a chimney liner?
A: Currently, most masonry chimneys are built with terra-cotta clay tiles stacked and mortared 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. A liner is a stainless steel tube inserted into a chimney to draft an furnace, woodstove or fireplace. The appliance will vent through that stainless pipe and use the existing chimney structure as an encasement. New liners are gas tight systems insulated for highest efficiency. This system can solve most drafting and safety issues of chimney fire damaged or older unlined chimney flues.

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Q: What is the difference between vented and non-vented gas logs? What else is there?
A: There are several different types of gas logs. We deal with the most popular types, vented and non vented or heating logs. The differences between these two logs sets is very technical. But to boil it down, vented type logs can only be used in fireplaces with a working chimney that meet current codes. Placement of the logs can be changed to make the fire look different. The flame has a more orange look and soot is more prevalent in the chimney. A chimney cap is HIGHLY recommended when using either type of log set to prevent water and other debris from falling on the log set. Water can rust the burner, grate and also damage the logs in a short amount of time.

Non-vented logs can be used in firebox's, when approved, with or without a chimney flue and still meet current building codes. Once vent-free logs are set up they must stay in this configuration through out their life. The flame is more blue with yellow tips and these logs produce no soot. These logs are extremely efficient for heating purposes, as the damper remains closed keeping the heat inside the home.