How Often Chimney Needs Sweeping (And Why)

How Often Your Chimney Needs Sweeping

This is a tougher question to answer than you’d think, but here’s the simple answer: Here at CSIA, we follow the guidelines of The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 211, which 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.”

Whoa – does this apply to ALL chimneys, fireplaces, and vents? Why every year?

This is the national safety standard, and 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.

How will a sweep know when it’s time to sweep your chimney? We recommend that all masonry fireplaces be swept at 1/8” of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze (creosote) present in the system. This is considered by fire safety experts to be enough 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 here is that the deposit is quite acidic and can shorten the life of the fireplace by corroding the different components of the prefab system.

What Is a Chimney Inspection & Why Do You Need to Have One Every Year?

A lot of homeowners have questions around chimney inspections, like:

  • What is a chimney inspection?
  • Why do I need a chimney inspection?
  • When do I need a chimney inspection?
  • What’s included in one?

Well, we’re going to dive in and answer those questions for you right here. Ready? Let’s go…

Why is it necessary to get your chimney swept?


When determining whether it’s necessary to get your chimney swept, it’s important to consider other factors besides simply how well it seems to be ventilating smoke from your fireplace. Many factors affect chimney health including (but not limited to) the age of your home, your chimney type, and the weather (strangely enough, mild weather seems to more drastically affect chimneys than very cold weather.) Another common factor that affects chimneys is the building of nests by birds or small animals within fireplace / chimney flues during Summer months, or dry leaf accumulation during the Autumn. Even when chimneys / fireplaces aren’t used, these issues can accumulate and get to a dangerous level. Lighting a fireplace with any of these issues can rapidly cause extreme damage to your property that can prove very dangerous. Only through regular chimney sweeping and inspection can you ensure that your fireplace (even gas fireplaces) are safe to operate, without the risk of poor ventilation, smoke inside the home, or soot fires.

Dryer Vent Cleaning Fireplace Cleaning