Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I have my chimney swept?
Depending on how much you use it. The fireplace flue and damper should be inspected and swept once a year, if needed. I have several clients that are swept twice a year because they use it every day. If you use your fireplace only on the weekends and holidays than once a year or even every two years is fine. Dawson's Chimney Sweeps will send you a reminder card if you wish.
How long does it take to sweep my fireplace?
Dawson's Chimney Sweeps does a thorough sweeping from top to bottom, firebox, damper area, smoke chamber and chimney in approximately 45 minutes. It is all done by hand. If a sweep comes out of your fireplace clean than something's wrong. A wood stove flue takes longer because there is more involved. Ladders, pipes, possibly moving the stove, etc. Pellet stoves can take from one hour up to three hours for a thorough servicing.
Will there be any dust created in my house during the sweeping process?
No. Dawson's Chimney Sweeps uses a powerful vacuum system made just for chimney sweeping. The hearth and floor are covered so there is no mess. We are the only things that get dirty.
Should I have my oil or gas heating unit flue swept?
YES definitely. Your heating unit flue should be inspected and possibly swept annually. The chimney flue in your home works 24/7, it is the most used part of your home. It carries the flue gases from your heating appliance up through the chimney out into the air.
Why is there an odor in my chimney during the summer months?
An odor can be caused by several things. Your chimney may be dirty and need a good sweeping. Homes today are more airtight and it may seem stronger when you turn on the A/C because it is pulling air into the house through your fireplace flue. Be sure to close the fireplace damper and doors. Give Dawson's Chimney Sweeps a call, we can help you find the cause.
How do I know if the wood I just bought is dry and seasoned?
I could write a book on this one!! Some woods are harder than others; they take longer to season and are more dense. If a log is down and cut into a 10 or 12 ft length and 14 inches in diameter it will take about 10 years for the center of that log to season. When wood is split and stacked at 4 inches square it will take about a year to season. Wood is like a sponge, it will pull moisture out of the air. I believe wood should be left uncovered and, in my opinion, covering wood will hold the moisture under the tarp. Wood must be open to air flow in order to dry. Check for grayish color, shrinkage, cracks and peeling bark. These are signs of drying and seasoning.
How can I keep my fireplace or wood stove from smoking when I first light it?
Using paper or cardboard is never good, it creates too much smoke. I use a small piece of a firestarter stick. If your wood is dry this should work fine. Try using a heat gun or hair dryer for 3 - 5 minutes to warm up the flue. Open a door or window on the other side of the room, wait 30 seconds, then try to light your fire. If no luck call Dawson's Chimney Sweeps. We will help you solve the problem.
Why is there a stain coming down the side of my chimney?
This could be rust from the chase cover, galvanized cap, or a sign that your heating unit is not running at peak efficiency. Dawson's Chimney Sweeps can remedy this by replacing the cap or chase cover with a good quality stainless steel one.