Indian Summer Chimney Services - Lexington, KY

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding chimneys and fireplaces, smoke, inspections, cleaning, etc.

How often should I have my chimney inspected and/or cleaned?

According to NFPA 211 (National Fire Protection Association), a chimney should be inspected and or cleaned once a year depending on usage (amount of wood burned, seasoned or unseasoned wood, and design and draft of chimney).

What is the best time of year to schedule a chimney inspection and/or cleaning?

The busiest time of year for most chimney sweeps is from September through March.  Therefore, we recommend scheduling inspections or cleanings between April and August. This is to avoid the scheduling backlog that often occurs due to weather conditions in the fall (rain, ice, or snow).

How do I decide whether or not the chimney needs to be cleaned?

Your chimney should be cleaned if there is a 1/8 inch or more accumulation of creosote, or if there is a strong woodburning (usually during rainy or high humidity conditions).

What is creosote and why is it in the chimney?

Creosote is a natural by-product of burning wood.  It can be defined as a combustible deposit originating as condensed wood smoke, including tar, vapors, and other organic compounds.

(per Reference Manual of the NCSG. September 1994).

Why should I have my chimney inspected?

Having a chimney inspected is a good idea because it can alert to a wide variety of problems before they become dangerous.  A thorough inspection includes the following items:

  • Visual examination of the masonry (bricks and mortar)
  • Crown/wash
  • Flashing
  • Smoke chamber
  • Liner
  • Damper
  • Hearth protection
  • Clearances
  • Firebox (the area where wood is burned)
How do you clean a chimney?

Indian Summer Chimney Services uses a guaranteed “no mess” cleaning method. First, we place tarps on the floor in front of the fireplace.  The chimney is then cleaned from the bottom.  We use specialized tools and brushes to clean the firebox, smoke chamber, damper, smoke shelf (behind the damper), and flue liner.

Why does my fireplace smell during the spring and summer months?

There are several possible causes for odor:

  • High humidity
  • Rain
  • Downdraft

Possible solutions (not in the same order) include:

  • Chimney cleaning
  • Chimney cap
  • Outside air kit
  • Top-mounted damper (Lock-topä damper)
  • Exhausto fan
Why does my fireplace smoke and what can be done about it?

There are several possible causes for a smoking fireplace:

  • Fireplace opening is larger than the size of the flue liner will allow
  • Downdrafts
  • Insufficient amount of air in the house
  • Breach or smoke-over problem in chimney (one fireplace above another)

Possible solutions (not in the same order) include:

  • Smoke guard
  • Exhausto fans (top-mounted)
  • Outside air kit
  • Top-mounted damper
How do you remove animals or birds from my chimney and how can I keep them out?

Animals can cause several problems if they get into chimneys. Indian Summer Chimney Services can remove animals from your chimney whether they are dead or alive.

Raccoon may get into chimneys, where they are usually found behind the damper.  On occasion they may enter the house, causing extensive damage. They also carry fleas.

Squirrels build nests in chimney flues, which can cause smoking problems. On occasion squirrels, like raccoon, will enter the house and may cause extensive damage.

Birds should also be removed from chimneys, except for Chimney Swifts, which are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Learn about Chimney Swift or Chimney Swifts and the Law

Violation of this law results in a substantial fine.  There are, however, several ways to prevent birds and animals from entering your chimney, including:

  • Chimney caps or covers
  • Stainless steel screening
  • Top-mounted damper
What causes water leakage and what can I do about it?

There are several possible causes for water leakage including:

  • Masonry problems (cracks in bricks or mortar)
  • Porous bricks
  • Flashing problems
  • Cracks in crown wash
  • Lack of chimney cap or cover

Possible solutions include:

  • Masonry repair or rebuild
  • Waterproofing porous bricks
  • Repair or rebuild flashing
  • Repair or replace crown wash (crown seal)
  • Install cap or cover