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The purpose of chimney sweeping is to mechanically remove deposits of soot and creosote from the lining and chamber areas of a chimney or vent. Creosote forms when smoke cools forming a flammable liquid that hardens and coats the interior of the chimney passageways. A dirty chimney can result in a chimney fire and place the home at risk for a structure fire. It is essential to have this dangerous conditions removed when these deposits form a coating greater than an eighth of an inch.
Chimney should also be swept to remove blockages, nests and debris that may result in deadly carbon monoxide from backing up into the home. The sweeping process also can find loose tile liners, voids and missing mortar joints that can result in a potential hot spot in the chimney that can allow liquids, gases and heat to transfer through the chimney to the structure of the home.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends all chimney and vents, regardless of use, be inspected by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep on an annual basis and swept when needed.