How Do You Know When to Service a Fireplace?

Cleaning a fireplace is crucially important.  However, knowing when to clean your fireplace isn’t like changing the oil in your car.  You know you have to change your oil every 3,000 or 5,000 miles, but you aren’t going to need to clean your fireplace every 50 uses, or 100 uses.  There are ways that you can check your fireplace to see if your chimney flue needs servicing and cleaning.

The biggest problem with determining when to clean your chimney is that creosote can form when wood is burned incompletely. This can be after using your fireplace 5 times or 500 times.  Creosote is an accumulation of tar vapors that can potentially stick to the inside of your flue.  Creosote is highly flammable.  Accumulation is often started by a smoky fire without enough oxygen.  Generally speaking, creosote accumulation can be reduced or even eliminated by providing adequate combustion air, which will encourage a hot, clean-burning fire.

Checking for creosote buildup is actually really easy.  Make sure there’s no downdraft from the chimney. If you feel an airflow, open a door or window on the same floor as the fireplace until it stops.  Make sure to then wear goggles and a dust mask.  Once your done this, taking a fireplace poker and a flashlight, scratch the black surface above the damper (smoke chamber). If what you are able to scratch is paper thin, you don’t need to clean it.  However, if it is more than 1/8 in., schedule a cleaning.  If it’s ¼ in. or more, don’t use the fireplace again until it has been cleaned.  As we had mentioned earlier, creosote is EXTREMELY flammable.  A chimney fire in that scenario is simply a matter of time.  When you are checking, shine your flashlight in the smoke chamber up into the flue, since creosote builds more quickly in the chimney.

Creosote comes in a variety of shades and thicknesses.  The light brown or gray soot can typically be easily removed with a broom. The thicker and more tar-looking it is, the harder it is to clean.  If it looks like a glaze, good luck on being able to get it off!  That’s where a professional can come in and get their hands dirty in cleaning your chimney and keeping your family and home safe.  A fireplace is a treasure, and a scheduled cleaning can restore its illuminating luster.

The need to service your fireplace is not only limited to wood-burning fireplaces.  Gas and electric fireplaces.  Electric fireplaces rely on candelabra light bulbs, which can burn out.  Gas fireplaces are typically dependent on a reliable gas line and functioning pilot light.  There are other issues that can potentially arise, as well.  While these issues are typically a little easier to troubleshoot, they are still important to be efficiently maintained, and repaired when necessary.  That’s why it’s so critical to rely on professionals you can trust.

Ignite Fireplace is a locally-owned company that specializes in providing a world-class service that’s light on your wallet.  Not only do we offer chimney and flue servicing for wood-burning fireplaces, we also offer repair and service for electric and gas fireplaces, such as Heatilator and Heat & Glo.  We offer the premier Heatilator repair service in Utah.  Our technicians serve the Salt Lake Valley, as well as Utah, Davis, and Summit Counties.  Give us a call today to schedule a servicing today.  It’s one call you will be glad you made.


Save money and avoid a long wait by having your chimney inspected and cleaned in the spring.