A qualified WETT Certified Chimney Technician/Sweep will also visually look into the condition of the inner flue and outer shell of a masonry chimney and interior smoke pipes and metal chimneys and advise you, in writing, with photos, of any deficiencies they discover. Broken flue tiles, spalling brick, warped dampers/baffles, clearances to combustibles, hearth size, chimney height ,etc. They are noting these things not to scare you, but to to ensure Code Compliance.
Your WETT Certified Technician may recommend a rain cap to prevent moisture from coming into the flue and causing deterioration of the inner linings and brickwork. Most caps also have a good, heavy duty screen to prevent birds and wildlife from entering the flue and causing a blockage with nesting materials. A quality Stainless Steel Rain cap is a good investment.
Remember, if the chimney flue channel is dirty with soot and creosote, a proper evaluation of its condition may not be possible as the damage may be hidden beneath the residue. It is always a good idea to have the chimney swept prior to the Evaluation or at the same time by your qualified WETT Certified Sweep.
The Ontario Fire Code (and many others) state that "Chimneys and flue pipes should be inspected annually and cleaned as often as necessary to keep them free from combustible deposits." We strongly recommend after every 40 fires [or so] or after every FULL [Bush] cord of wood has been consumed. That is a 4 x 4 x 8 stack of wood.
There are 3 Levels of Inspection- do you know which one you require for your Home?? Scroll down and see...
For Home SALES or PURCHASES a Level 2 is always recommended!!
An Inspection/Evaluation/Report by a WETT Certified Chimney Technician/Inspector is to check for Code Compliance with Installations.
It is NOT meant to address Performance Issues, [as this is dependant on many factors unique to your home and habits],
but your wood-heat trained technician will attempt to aid in this area as best they can with advice.
A WETT Inspection/Evaluation/Report It is to attest that the installation is within Code Compliance Guide-lines according to Applicable Codes and Standards and the Ontario Building Code and Manufacturers Specifications.
Is your Chimney Professional Certified??
How Often Should I Clean My Chimney??
On the average a wood-burning unit should be swept EVERY year in the Spring or after every full [or what used to be called a bush] 4x4x8 cord of wood has been consumed. If you are a constant wood-burner and use your unit for primary heat you will require 3-4+ sweepings per season. You can do this monthly on your own but the last sweeping should be done in April or May, by a Professional Sweep, who can rid your system of the corrosive soot deposits that can eat into your chimney when left to sit for several months. Your sweep can also set up an appointment for any reparation work that may be needed for the summer months, when the unit is not used. Then come fall's chilly winds, your unit is up and ready for you to burn brightly again.
Combination Furnaces such as Wood/oil & wood/electric furnaces should be serviced as often as if it were a wood only units. Every full cord of wood constitutes a sweeping and service check. For wood/oil combos remember, Oil residue is sticky and will attract any airborne debris, including soot. Your Oil Technician should come the day after your sweep to clean the oil side of the combination furnace and to ensure the air-fuel mixture is set to the new clean chimney inner diameter.
Gas/Propane chimneys should be inspected after the first year of burning and there-after when necessary. The first inspection will determine the deposit amount within the flue channel. Your fuel air mixture may need adjusting if excessive carbon deposits are found. Full chimney Cleanings may be only necessary every 3-5 years. Always have your licensed Gas or Propane or Oil tech CHECK THE CHIMNEY FLUE when they service the appliance.
The gas/propane appliance however should be serviced every spring just as your furnace needs adjusting and tuning up so does your appliance. Motors should be oiled, fans and burners dusted and glass cleaned. This will ready the appliance for next seasons burning cycle.
Pellet burning units should be swept after EVERY ton of pellet is consumed, and have their ENTIRE inner workings cleaned and oiled every three tons. This prevents clogging of the auger and auger motor and proper running of all fan systems. Please ensure yo are using ONLY good dry pellets, do not store outside in the elements. Pellets MUST be dry to go thru the system without clogging. These units require annual unit maintenance and just like the NG & LP units they have fans, motors, thermo-discs and glass which needs expert care.
Generally they can be more maintenance free than a wood unit. Yes, the fuel is more convenient but, the maintenance is more constant. You must remember that these units are MECHANICAL. A full spring tune-up and check of these appliances can run you more than the charge of a wood-burning unit. They have many complex moving parts to deal with; spill switches, thermo-discs, 1-3 different fans, motors, augers, etc.
Just like your expensive motor vehicle, these units cannot run properly if all you do is put fuel into them. They need the expertise of a qualified service person to deal with the unit itself as well as the chimney/ venting system it is hooked up to.
Be a friend to your heating appliance and it's venting chimney system, and have them serviced regularly by a QUALIFIED Oil or Gas Appliance Technician or WETT Certified Chimney Sweep.
YOUR SPRING CLEANING ROUTINE SHOULD INCLUDE ALL YOUR HEATING APPLIANCES AND THEIR CHIMNEYS / VENTS
CALL YOUR SWEEP EARLY TO GET THE DATING YOU WANT AND AVOID THE LONG WAIT IN THE FALL