Chimneys are made up of 3 components which are the flue, the firebox, and the damper. These are held together by metal bands called firebricks. The flue is found on top of the chimney stack where it carries out combustible gases from the fireplace to atmosphere. The damper has a handle that can be adjusted to control the amount of air allowed to pass through it and into the firebox. Gas fires do not produce combustible gases that need to be carried out but rather just heated air which is allowed to rise into the flue before exiting the chimney.
A fireplace needs sweeping when there are excess ash particles, soot buildup, or creosote accumulation in it. Creosote is a dark residue that can collect on flue walls and accumulate enough eventually to catch fire causing a house fire. A good way to avoid this from happening is by having your chimney swept regularly at least once a year. Dr. Chimney Sweep recommend servicing your chimneys 2-4 times per year for optimal performance and safety.
If you have a chimney in your home, there are few things more important than to hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect and clean it regularly.
A study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows that over 20% of all fires reported in residential buildings were caused by creosote buildup on chimneys. Creosote is a tar-like substance formed as wood and other types of fuel burn. Left unattended, it can turn into flammable tars that ignite and cause fires. Creosote often builds up on dampers or screens placed near vents that allow fireplaces to draw air from outside. If those dampers were to close completely, the fireplace would be unable to release smoke.