No Matter The Fuel You Use To Heat Your Home, Each Flue Needs To Be Cleaned

Wood Burning Chimneys/Flues | Oil Burning Flues | Gas Burning Flues

When A Chimney Needs To Be Cleaned?

​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 cleaned at 1/8″ of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system. Factory-built fireplaces should be cleaned when any appreciable buildup occurs. This is considered to be enough fuel buildup to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home.

Typically, homeowners who heat with wood as a primary heat source will need to clean their systems once every two months (during the heating season), while occasional recreational use may only require cleaning once every few years.

Steps to take for a safe chimney

Proper care and attention can help protect people from unnecessary fires and carbon monoxide poisonings. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and always have an accessible fire extinguisher. Have your chimneys inspected and cleaned regularly; at least annually and choose the right professional!

Gas & Oil Furnace Flues

Did you know that oil furnace flues need annual maintenance, no matter what type of fuel is used? We’ve discovered that our customers often have the idea that cleaning of the furnace flue is handled by the fuel supplier or utility company, but that is not the case. A neglected furnace flue can be dangerous, and one reason is that debris can block the flue and cause soot blow-back into the house. The problem can cause carbon monoxide fumes to enter the home, resulting in illness and sometimes even death. An annual furnace flue inspection by professionals can help to ensure that it’s safe to use your furnace.

The potential problems in the flue caused by a furnace are different from those caused by a wood-burning fireplace or stove, but they are no less dangerous. Oil and gas furnaces produce by-products which can literally eat away the flue lining. A clay liner, for instance, will begin breaking apart and can block gasses from escaping out of the flue. This is the type of situation in which carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a real danger. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, it often goes undetected in the atmosphere until it causes severe illness. It’s essential to have carbon monoxide detectors and check them routinely to be sure they are still working properly, since the devices are true life-savers.

When to Schedule a Furnace Flue Inspection?

Besides having an annual flue inspection to ensure that there is no blockage or damage in the furnace flue, the following are good times to have your furnace and flue checked:

  • Prior to moving into a new home
  • Before installing a new furnace in your home

While a furnace does not produce as much particulate build-up as a wood-burning fireplace, a cleaning is important partly because connections of your venting unit need to be removed and cleaned out.

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. We suggest you check the areas on gas and carbon monoxide for more information.

Any type of blockage can introduce the same dangerous result of causing carbon monoxide to enter the home. In a furnace flue inspection, birds’ nests and all types of debris are removed from the flue so that the heating system can operate safely.

​Another major concern with a furnace flue is when there is a conversion to a gas appliance. Building codes actually require that the flue be inspected and cleaned before the change is made, but this step is often missed. The accumulation of oil or coal soot will eventually lose its bond and drip down the flue, aided in part by moisture in the stack gases produced by the new furnace. The clean-out pit and flue opening can both become clogged, as a result.

About Creoste

Creosote buildup is dangerous and can cause chimney fires. However, you can take steps to minimize the amount of creosote by utilizing products that are sprayed into your firebox and always burn seasoned wood that is dry. Cleaning your firebox will not make your chimney safe and burning “creosote logs” will not clean your chimney. You should have your chimney cleaned at least annually to remove this hazardous by-product. The longer you allow creosote to build on your chimney walls, the more dangerous your chimney becomes and more expensive to remove.

By definition creosote is a combustible deposit that originates from condensed wood smoke. It includes tar, vapors, and other organic compounds. It’s a natural by-product of burning wood. Creosote formation ranges in severity from stage 1 to Stage 3.It can be in a sooty or ash like state (Stage 1), dry friable honeycombs or crunchy flakes (Stage 2), or a sticky dense hard shiny black tar glaze (Stage 3). Several variables affect the amount of build-up deposited in the wood heating system are smoke density, flue gas temperature, and residence time.

Stage 1 and stage 2 creosotes are mechanically removed during chimney brushing.
Stage 3 glaze creosote however must be chemically modified to be removed and requires the application of a powder or spray magnesium based catalysts to convert the glaze back to a Stage 1 or Stage 2 brush-able format.

We offer professional strength creosote modifiers and consumer level creosote modifiers to aid in the removal of Stage 3 glaze creosote.


We provide Chimney Inspections, Chimney Sweeping, Stainless Steal Liners, Wood Stoves, Heart Stoves, Inserts, Chimney Caps, Chimney Repair, Walls, Seawalls, Retaining Walls, Patios, Driveways, Pavers, Walkways, Venners, Waterproofing, and Masonry Repairs to customers and clients in the following areas:

Chester CT, Clinton CT, Colchester CT, Deep River CT, East Haven CT, East Lyme CT, Essex CT, Franklin CT, Gales Ferry CT, Griswold CT, Groton CT, Guilford CT, Hartford CT, Jewett City CT, Killingworth CT, Lebanon CT, Ledyard CT, Lisbon CT, Lyme CT, Madison CT, Middletown CT, Montville CT, Mystic CT, New Haven CT, New London CT, Niantic CT, North Stonington CT, Norwich CT, Old Lyme CT, Old Saybrook CT, Pawcatuck CT, Preston CT, Salem CT, Stonington CT, Voluntown CT, Waterford CT, West Haven CT, Westbrook CT, Windham CT, Ashaway RI, Bradford RI, Charlestown RI, Coventry RI, Cranston RI, East Greenwich RI, Exeter RI, Hope Valley RI, Hopkinton RI, Narragansett RI, North Kingstown RI, Providence RI, Richmond RI, South Kingstown RI, Warwick RI, West Greenwich RI, West Warwick RI, & Westerly RI.


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