FAQ

Chimney Sweep 101

1Do I Have to Get My Chimney Cleaned Every Year?
Chimneys should be inspected annually and cleaned as needed per National Fire Protection Association Code 211. The NFPA Code 211 states that "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." ​ ​​
If your chimney or heating appliance and venting system is not functioning properly, there is an increased risk for serious damage to the home, as well as the potential to compromise the health of the family (and pets) living inside the home. ​​
Our chimney sweeps at Wright's are certified by the National Fireplace Institute and use video-scan cameras on every inspection and cleaning. ​
Wright's Wood-Burning Tip: Use hardwoods that have been seasoned (split and covered for at least a full calendar year) to lessen the amount of potential creosote buildup in your chimney.
2I Have a Gas Unit - Do I Need a Chimney Cleaning or a Gas Service?
If your gas unit is inserted into a chimney (such as gas logs or a gas insert), your chimney may not need to be swept every year like a wood-burning chimney would. However, gas-burning systems need to be inspected annually to ensure everything is functioning properly and to prevent the danger of gas leaking back into your home. Our gas technicians check the unit, venting components, gas connection, and perform a gas service if it is needed.
3​What Are the Signs of a Chimney Fire?
Chimney fires occur when creosote (highly-flammable byproduct of burning wood) ignites in chimneys that have not been cleaned as needed, that are improperly installed, or have existing damage or deterioration that has not been addressed. ​​
​Chimney fires can act differently based on the state of the chimney itself, but most chimney fires start with a loud, roaring noise accompanied by sparks, flames, or thick, black smoke pouring from the top of the chimney. ​
If you are unsure whether you've had a chimney fire, do not use the chimney until The Wright Chimney Sweep has inspected it and written a formal report for your records. Chimney fires can cause damage to the interior lining (the flue) of the chimney and to adjacent objects. This damage compromises the safety of the system and allows toxic carbon monoxide to enter the home.
4What is the Purpose of a Chimney Cap?
Chimney caps are raised covers for the top of a chimney (for any fuel type) that prevent the elements and debris (twigs, birds, critters) from getting into your chimney. Wright's carries single-flue, multi-flue and custom chimney caps & chimney cap/damper combos in a variety of finishes. The most popular chimney cap finish is stainless steel, followed by painted black steel, then copper, aluminum and galvanized. Chimney caps commonly have "spark arrestors," which is a mesh barrier covering the side of the cap to prevent sparks from landing on your roof.
  1. Keep moisture out – A chimney cap will keep rain water from coming down your home’s chimney. Rain water can damage chimneys with stainless steel liners, chimney dampers and chimney mortar joints. Beyond the damage from the water itself, moisture from rain water can produce mold and mildew.
  2. Keep out animal invaders – Animals like birds, raccoons and squirrels often try to make their homes within chimneys. In many cases, these animals will enter the chimney but won’t be able to exit, eventually dying. This can produce maggots, flies and unpleasant odors in your home. A professionally installed chimney cap sized properly will prevent animals from entering the chimney.
  3. Prevent wind-induced downdrafts – If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, it can introduce a downdraft. If you don’t have a chimney cap and you’re using a wood-burning fireplace at the time, a wind-induced downdraft has the potential of blowing smoke back into your home. The flat-shaped top of a chimney cap is designed to help prevent wind-induced downdrafts.
  4. Prevent sparks and embers – Some people refer to chimney caps as spark arrestors, which basically means that the chimney cap helps prevent lit embers or sparks that travel up the chimney from landing on roof, possibly catching it on fire.
  5. Prevent debris build-up – Leaves, branches, twigs and other debris can enter a chimney and build up if a chimney cap is not in place.

Chimney Liner 101

1What is a Chimney Liner?
A Chimney Liner, or Flue Liner, is by definition "a clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion." According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, there are three main functions of a chimney liner:
  1. Protect the home from heat transfer to combustibles
  2. Protect the masonry from the corrosive byproducts of combustion
  3. Provide a correctly sized flue for optimum efficiency of appliances
2Can My Damaged Chimney Liner be Repaired?
The Wright Chimney Sweep's certified technicians perform a video-scan inspection of your chimney flue to determine if any damage is present. Wright's provides written documentation of our findings, and when applicable, provides an estimate for repairs to the system.

When a brick & mortar or clay tile chimney flue is compromised (i.e. cracks, missing tiles, deteriorating mortar joints), it is no longer serving its purpose - which means it is no longer keeping you, or your home, safe. Wright's Hearth, Heat & Home may recommend relining the chimney flue with a Stainless Steel Flue Liner. Our liners are U.L. tested and listed, are extremely safe and durable, and have a transferable lifetime warranty when properly maintained.
3What Issues Will a Stainless Steel Chimney Liner Address?
A stainless steel is suitable for woodburning, pellet, gas, or oil applications and address the following issues:
  1. Condensation & Leakage: Condensation can migrate through the chimney, staining the home's interior and the chimney's exterior. If unaddressed, extended condensation leakage can cause more serious damage.
  2. Chimney Structure Disintegration: Acidic moisture present in creosote can eat away at the brick & mortar and cause structural issues.
  3. Unlined Chimney, Cracked or Missing Flue Tiles & Mortar Joints: Any crack or gap in a chimney flue is a portal for dangerous carbon monoxide gas to leak into the home. The risk of a chimney fire spreading into the surrounding areas of the home greatly increases when cracks, gaps, or missing tiles are present.
  4. Improper Draft or Smoking Chimney: Improperly sized flues can cause an unsteady draft or smoking back into the home. This is a common issue, as older chimney flues are no match for new appliances.

Gas Service 101

1I Have a Gas Unit - Do I Need a Chimney Cleaning or a Gas Service?
If your gas unit is inserted into a chimney (such as gas logs or a gas insert), your chimney may not need to be swept every year like a wood-burning chimney would. However, gas-burning systems need to be inspected annually to ensure everything is functioning properly and to prevent the danger of gas leaking back into your home. Wright's Hearth, Heat & Home's gas technicians check the unit, venting components, gas connection, and perform a gas service if it is needed.
2Do I Have to Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector?
​A carbon monoxide detector is not solely used for a set of gas logs or a gas fireplace. It is an important tool to have in your home since many household appliances can produce this potentially deadly gas. If you have a gas-powered heating appliance, a carbon monoxide detector is a must – it can save your life, your family’s life, and your pets’ lives too!

If you have vent-free (also called unvented) gas logs in your home, the potential for carbon monoxide to build up is greater than if you have vented gas logs or a vented gas fireplace. Vented gas logs and vented fireplaces allow the noxious gasses vent through your chimney or vent-pipe and out of your home – but be advised – just because you have a vented gas unit doesn’t mean the potential for carbon monoxide buildup is eliminated. If your chimney or chimney cap is blocked by leaves, twigs, animal nests or soot buildup, carbon monoxide is potentially filling up your home and threatening your safety. Wright’s Hearth, Heat & Home (The Wright Chimney Sweep & Anything Gas) recommends having one of our NFI Certified chimney sweeps or gas technicians perform an annual inspection of your chimney system to ensure it is still safe and up to code.
3What is the Purpose of a Chimney Cap?
Chimney caps are raised covers for the top of a chimney (for any fuel type) that prevent the elements and debris (twigs, birds, critters) from getting into your chimney. Wright's carries single-flue, multi-flue and custom chimney caps & chimney cap/damper combos in a variety of finishes. The most popular chimney cap finish is stainless steel, followed by painted black steel, then copper, aluminum and galvanized. Chimney caps commonly have "spark arrestors," which is a mesh barrier covering the side of the cap to prevent sparks from landing on your roof.
  1. Keep moisture out – A chimney cap will keep rain water from coming down your home’s chimney. Rain water can damage chimneys with stainless steel liners, chimney dampers and chimney mortar joints. Beyond the damage from the water itself, moisture from rain water can produce mold and mildew.
  2. Keep out animal invaders – Animals like birds, raccoons and squirrels often try to make their homes within chimneys. In many cases, these animals will enter the chimney but won’t be able to exit, eventually dying. This can produce maggots, flies and unpleasant odors in your home. A professionally installed chimney cap sized properly will prevent animals from entering the chimney.
  3. Prevent wind-induced downdrafts – If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, it can introduce a downdraft. If you don’t have a chimney cap and you’re using a wood-burning fireplace at the time, a wind-induced downdraft has the potential of blowing smoke back into your home. The flat-shaped top of a chimney cap is designed to help prevent wind-induced downdrafts.
  4. Prevent sparks and embers – Some people refer to chimney caps as spark arrestors, which basically means that the chimney cap helps prevent lit embers or sparks that travel up the chimney from landing on roof, possibly catching it on fire.
  5. Prevent debris build-up – Leaves, branches, twigs and other debris can enter a chimney and build up if a chimney cap is not in place.
4How to Re-light Your Standing Pilot Fireplace

Have a Question for The Wright Chimney Sweep?

If you don't see your question answered here, please contact us by calling (828) 684-1535, visiting one of our showrooms, or emailing us through the contact page of this website.​ If you are interested in scheduling a chimney sweep or gas service, please call (828) 684-1535 and speak with one of Wright's finest.