If you’ve been following along over the last couple of days, you’ve heard us talk about how to choose the right firewood and how to troubleshoot a poorly drafting chimney — things you, as a homeowner, can (and should) do on your own to ensure your system is working properly. Today, we’re going to switch gears a little and talk about some situations where it’s a good idea to call your local CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep for a more thorough investigation.

FYI… both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (that’s us), recommend an annual chimney inspection by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. An annual inspection can go along way in preventing any unexpected issues and saving you a lot of money.

Okay, now that little disclaimer is out of the way, here are some scenarios where you’ll want to call for some well-trained backup.

  1. Your drafting issues were not fixed by any of the suggestions we mentioned in our last post and your fireplace is still spilling smoke into your home.
  2. You’ve got a fire going in the fireplace and you suddenly hear what sounds like a jet-engine inside your chimney (this may very well be a chimney fire, and you might want to call 911 before calling your nearest CSIA Certified Sweep).
  3. You see visible flames coming from the top of your chimney (again, definitely call the fire department first!)
  4. A family of raccoons/squirrels/other furry creatures have taken up residence inside your chimney.
  5. You’re in the market for a new (previously-owned) home. Although we have much love for home inspectors, not all of them are well trained on fireplaces and chimneys, so it’s still a good idea to call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep for a more thorough inspection prior to signing that dotted line.
  6. You notice signs of water intrusion in and around your fireplace.
  7. Your fireplace stinks. Seriously.
  8. When you’re ready to install a new fireplace insert or other chimney-connected appliance.
  9. Any other situation that leaves you unsure about using your fireplace or stove. Safety first!

jordan prAbout the author: Jordan Whitt is the current Director of Communications and Marketing for the Chimney Safety Institute of America and a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.  Outside of the CSIA, you’ll occasionally find him doing some public affairs work for the American Red Cross or Indiana Department of Homeland Security. You can email him directly at jwhitt@csia.org.