Why Chimney Sweeping and Inspections Matter

Do you know what the first two items are on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Fire Safety Checklist?

Checklist Item #1

The woodstove or fireplace has been installed according to existing building codes and manufacturer instructions.

Checklist Item #2

The chimney and stovepipe are checked frequently during the heating season for creosote buildup and swept when necessary.

That should be enough to get your attention and make you aware of how important chimney sweeping is to the safety of your home and family. If that is not enough to shake your tree, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA – www.csia.org) is packed with information regarding chimney cleaning, inspections, and even what you need to look for when hiring a chimney company.

You Can Be Confident in The Mad Hatter

So how do we ensure that you can have confidence in our company and our chimney sweeps?

  • We conduct a thorough background check on all our chimney sweeps.
  • We are members of CSIA.
  • We conduct mandatory training classes to educate our staff on the latest advances, techniques, and safety issues regarding chimney cleaning, evaluations and repair.

Since establishing The Mad Hatter over a decade ago, we have serviced more than 10,000 homes. Our customers keep coming back because after a single visit, they have the confidence in knowing our chimney sweeping services and technicians are the best in the Indianapolis area! We take our time and do the job right the first time so you and your family can safely enjoy your fireplace.

In addition to safety, our major concern is cleanliness. We know this can be a dirty job, but we want to make sure your home looks as clean when we leave as it did when we arrived. By the time our professionals finish their work, you will never know that your chimney was just cleaned! That is until you start your first fire in the fireplace.

What You Can Expect

When a team member of The Mad Hatter arrives at your home to perform chimney sweeping services:

  • The area in front of and surrounding the fireplace will be blanketed with tarps. We will also set up a dust collector to ensure that all dirt coming out during the cleaning is captured.
  • Our team member will then sweep your chimney from top to bottom.
  • Once the chimney has been swept, we will clean the damper and damper assembly as well as inspect it and adjust as necessary.
  • The flue is swept with brushes on rods and we use hand brushes for the smoke chamber and firebox. To control the dust, a powerful vacuum with a triple layer HEPA filter is used.
  • Once the inside of the chimney is clean, our team will do a thorough chimney inspection on the outside of your home. Included in this chimney evaluation is a documentation of all damage to the brickwork, mortar work, and crown.
  • When our team has completed the chimney sweeping and evaluation, you will be left with a written copy and we can forward any photos taken concerning exterior damage that you may want to have repaired at a later date.
  • All of our work is guaranteed and we prefer the homeowner be present when work is done.

Why Chimney Inspections are Important

Chimney evaluations, also referred to as inspections, are extremely important to ensure the safety of your home and family. If there is any type of obstruction in the chimney, it could result in either a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Even if your chimney appliance saw little use last winter, we recommend a chimney inspection to ensure the fireplace is ready to safely use when the weather turns colder.

If you go back to 1998,  there were over 18,000 fires in the United States alone that were directly related to fireplaces, chimneys, and heating appliances. Because of these fires, 40 people lost their lives, another 160 were injured, and there was over $150 million in property damage. More disturbing is the reality that many of these fires were preventable.

Respected Certification Companies

The two most respected organizations concerning fire safety are the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association. Both of these agencies recommend that homeowners with fireplaces or wood stoves and chimneys have an annual chimney inspection. Considering the possible consequences of not having an evaluation, the fee is a small cost for peace of mind and potential property savings.

Homeowners need to consider that a burning fire is not the only cause of excess debris in their chimney. If you have a chase, just about every heating appliance in your home generates toxic gases that pass out of the home through a chimney. In addition, there are additional dangers caused by leaves accumulating or by birds nesting.

The excess buildup  from other heating sources as well as outside debris could cause a blockage in the chimney flue or chase increasing the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Your carbon monoxide detector will make you aware of levels that are dangerous, but why take the chance of ever letting it get to that point when a chimney evaluation can identify the potential problem before it ever occurs?

We are always amazed at the amount of neglected chimneys in homes we visit. As the summer ends and fall approaches, the DIY list looms large for the weekend warrior. Yet, oddly enough, making sure the chimney is maintained rarely makes it onto that list. When you consider that your fireplace is a primary open heating source that sits inside your home, that can be a foolish mistake.

Levels of Inspection

The Mad Hatter offers three different levels of chimney evaluations to suit your needs.

Level 1 Chimney Evaluation

This is the most basic of chimney inspections if there have not been any changes to your chimney. It is the ideal service to choose before the fall and winter seasons.

  • There will be no removal of doors, coverings, or panels during the inspection.
  • When inspecting your heating appliance and the connected chimney, our technicians will use commonly used tools and no damage will occur to the structure, nor will normal operation of the chimney be disturbed.

Level 2 Chimney Evaluation

We recommend this level of chimney inspection when you are making changes to your heating systems or appliances. You will need this inspection if the home is changing ownership or you burn a cord of wood or more in your fireplace or stove. This level is also recommended when the homeowner experiences some type of malfunction or you suspect damage has occurred due to a storm or some other circumstance.

  • All services from Level 1 included.
  • We will not remove or destroy any portion of the chimney structure.
  • Video inspection is available at this level.

Level 3 Chimney Evaluation

We recommend this service if either Level 1 or Level 2 chimney inspections result in the discovery of some type of operating malfunction or damage.

  • We may have to remove equipment and disassemble a portion of the chimney structure and attached building areas.
  • We will have to use industry specific tools and equipment to gain access to various areas currently concealed in the flue and chimney.

If you would like to schedule your chimney sweeping & inspection today, please contact us at 317-596-0200 or use the form on the website to schedule your appointment.

Keeping your chimney and dryer vent system healthy is a job for the professionals. In addition to inspection and cleaning, your chimney may also require masonry repairs.