The Importance of Chimney Sweeping Early in 2020

As a homeowner, it’s important to regularly schedule a chimney sweeping appointment to prevent fires. If you use your fireplace regularly, soot and creosote collect on the walls of your chimney. This is dangerous and can also reduce the efficiency of your fireplace.

Luckily, all of this can be avoided by having your chimney cleaned before the colder months arrive, and 2020 is no exception. It’s always best to hire a professional chimney sweep before the rainy weather sets in.

Here’s why hiring a chimney sweeping service is essential for every homeowner…

This Isn’t a Job to Handle by Yourself

Not only is it messy work, but in order to ensure that your chimney is really clean, it’s essential to hire a professional to get the job done right. Most homeowners don’t have the proper equipment or the expertise that’s needed to thoroughly clean their own chimney.

Chimney Fires are Extremely Common

It’s estimated that each year 70,000 house fires are caused by the buildup of soot inside chimneys. In fact, research indicates that as many as 30% of all home fires are caused by chimney soot buildup. Furthermore, these fires can cause costly damage to homes. In fact, chimney-related fires cause an estimated $1.3 billion in damage every year.

The Efficiency of Your Fireplace Will Increase

Creosote and soot buildup reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the fire in your fireplace, causing it to burn at a lower temperature. There can be a substantial difference in heating efficiency after your chimney is cleaned.

Buildup Can Become Costly

In some cases, dust, soot, and debris can build up in your chimney to the point where the walls become damaged. Left long enough, it may require costly repairs to restore your chimney.

It Helps Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide in your home can be deadly, and having a chimney that’s partially clogged can increase this risk. Furthermore, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often go unnoticed. But fortunately, having your chimney cleaned can greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to this silent killer.

Chimney Sweeping With Us

At The Irish Sweep, we’re here to help with any masonry repairs, fireplace insert installation, chimney cleaning, and/or dryer vent cleaning. We offer our services to Bay Area customers to ensure their health and safety. Schedule an appointment online, or contact us at (510) 521-4088.

How Long Does a Chimney Sweep Take?

If you’re ready to have your chimney cleaned, you might wonder what to expect and how long the process will take. The short answer is that a chimney sweep typically takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Technicians spend some time setting up equipment, like laying drop cloths to protect your living space from soot and chimney debris. There’s also packing up at the end to thoroughly clean up all resulting debris. Because of this, the total service time may exceed an hour. Although, you shouldn’t need to schedule more than two hours for your entire service, from start to finish.

Here’s a more thorough look at what to expect…


The total time expenditure of your chimney service will depend on a few outside factors. We recommend your chimney has a cap that covers the opening. This prevents outside debris from coming in. It also keeps animals from making homes or becoming trapped inside. So, if your chimney has a cap, the chimney sweep process will likely take less time. Chimneys without a cap may have extra debris that needs to be removed.


Another factor impacting the amount of time a chimney service takes is buildup. Creosote is a tar buildup present in the chimney. Because it’s a byproduct of wood burning, some residue is left inside the chimney after every fire. Over time, it creates a thick layer of black tar. Since creosote is flammable, it’s important to have this buildup removed periodically by a chimney technician.

This is one of the reasons why a regular chimney sweep service is so important. If it’s been a while since the chimney was cleaned, there will be more creosote and the service might take longer. Generally, chimneys that are regularly serviced can be swept more quickly.


Your chimney sweep technician will likely clean your chimney with a long wire brush that looks something like a large bottlebrush. The bristles of the brush sweep debris from inside the chimney and down the flue, cleaning the inside surface area. Accumulated debris gather in the fireplace area to be removed.


Regular chimney cleaning is an important safety measure, a central part of home maintenance, and can be done quickly and cleanly. Now that you know what to expect, contact a representative at The Irish Sweep to set up your chimney cleaning service today. Contact our office at (510) 521-4088.

What Does a Dirty Chimney Look Like?

When wood burns in a fireplace, there are natural byproducts that result. The chimney is the place where it all accumulates. Some of these byproducts are flammable and can ignite to cause a chimney fire if left unswept. So, it’s important to have a dirty chimney cleaned for safety reasons. Here’s what you need to know…


Creosote is the most common buildup inside a dirty chimney. It’s a combination of tar and soot that accumulates in layers. Over time, the layers of creosote thicken and need to be removed.

It’s visible to both chimney technicians and the average homeowner. Using a flashlight, peek inside your chimney. If you see an accumulation of black material, it’s likely creosote. A service professional can remove this buildup to restore your chimney to a state of cleanliness and improved function.


How dirty the inside of your chimney is will depend on when it was last cleaned. According to industry standards, a fireplace and chimney are required to be cleaned at least once a year to remove the buildup of creosote and other debris. However, fireplaces and chimneys that are used more frequently require additional maintenance. Your technician will evaluate the inside of your chimney to determine the best method of cleaning.


Having a large accumulation of creosote inside your chimney might also mean the spark arrestor mesh in the flue cap is clogged, creating a downdraft of smoke into your home and cause fires to burn less efficiently and effectively, creating less warmth and greater particulate matter into the environment. These are all inconveniences of a dirty chimney.

But it’s not just an inconvenience. It’s unsafe. The creosote that accumulates on the inner walls of the chimney is a flammable substance and, if not removed periodically, can ignite to cause a chimney fire that could spread to other areas of your home.


For safety, efficiency, and convenience, make sure your chimney isn’t dirty. Call us at (510) 521-4088 or email our Office Manager, Sarah, at to schedule an appointment today.  Once we are deemed to be an essential business, our expertly trained crew will be so happy to be back at work and address all of your service concerns.

Animal in the Chimney?

Critters are cute, but they certainly don’t belong in the chimney. If you ever hear unusual sounds from your fireplace, like wings, or scratching, odds are you have a wild guest trying to escape. From cats to birds, we’ve been told all kinds of stories about wildlife trapped in flues. But if you find an animal in the chimney, what should you do about it?


First and foremost, don’t light your fireplace. While it might seem logical to try to smoke the animal out, it’s more likely to injure the animal, and possibly your chimney, too.

Instead, close off the fireplace so the animal can’t get loose in your home. The last thing you want is to be chasing a raccoon around the house.


There’s no need to panic. If you open the damper, the animal may be able to get out on its own. But if that isn’t the case, give your local animal control service a call. They’re better equipped to deal with an animal in the chimney than the fire department.


Animals search for warm places to build their nests, especially in wintry months. They don’t understand what a fireplace is. So, it’s best to simply prevent finding an animal in the chimney before it becomes an issue.

To protect both your home and your chimney, it’s important to have a qualified chimney sweep examine the inner components of your chimney for damage. A missing or faulty rain cap, as well as gaps where animals can squeeze in, pose risks to your chimney.

Having your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned before you begin building fires in cold weather will help you avoid not only unwelcome nests, but other hazards. For more information on our services, please give us a call at (510) 521-4088.

Facts About Chimney Fires

In 2014 there were nearly 23,000 chimney fires caused by fireplaces. Open fires and wood burners are a great feature for any home, but making use of your chimney does increase your risk of house fires. The good news is that you can take measures to prevent them. Read on to learn some important facts about chimney fires.

The Problem with Dirty Chimneys

When you burn wood in your fireplace, it causes a residue to accumulate on the walls of your chimney. This residue is called creosote.

Creosote is combustible. If enough builds up, and your chimney gets hot enough, it can catch fire. Flames from your fire or wood burner can also ignite the creosote. And once it’s burning, you have a chimney fire.

Silent Fires

Because chimney fires start inside chimneys, they quite often go undetected. The creosote on the walls of your chimney is the fuel, so once it burns up, the fire usually goes out on its own. You may not even realize anything happened. In some cases, however, fires burn noisily, making them impossible to miss.

Chimney Fires Can Cause Serious Damage

Your chimney is designed to carry the smoke from your fire or wood burner out of your home. It’s not designed to withstand fires inside the chimney itself.

If you have a chimney fire, it will cause damage to your chimney, causing it to crack or melt. If the damage is severe enough, then a chimney fire may be able to pass into your home, which can be incredibly dangerous.

They Can Be Prevented

The good news is that chimney fires are preventable.

The simple fact is that clean chimneys don’t catch fire. Without a supply of creosote to fuel the fire, there is nothing to keep a chimney fire burning. By properly cleaning and maintaining your chimney, you can eliminate the risk of chimney fires.

We would always recommend hiring the services of a professional chimney sweep to keep your chimney clean. That way you can ensure that your chimney is in safe working order.

Are You Looking for a Reliable Chimney Sweep?

If you want to prevent chimney fires in your own home, then you need a reliable chimney sweep. That’s where we can help.

As well as chimney servicing and inspections, we also offer fireplace installation, chimney removal, and more. Our mission as chimney professionals is to educate and bring awareness to our customers regarding fireplace safety, integrity, and performance. Our number one priority is safety.

Contact us today and let us take care of your chimney.


If you have a fireplace built into your house, you’re lucky. It’s the perfect way to relax and stay cozy on cold nights. Furthermore, there are financial benefits, too. Having a fireplace in a home raises its value byover $12,000.

However, a fireplace also means there’s a chimney that requires regular maintenance. Luckily, this is fairly simple when you do your research and hire the right chimney sweep.

Here’s a look at the process of cleaning a chimney, as well as the amazing people who do this work. Read on to learn why chimney maintenance is so important…


Yes, a chimney sweep sweeps out your chimney, but there’s a bit more to the career description than that. The chimney sweep will go into the chimney and assess how much ash and soot are trapped inside it. This step determines his or her next course of action. Specifically, how much cleaner they need to bring inside the chimney with them.

Though the job title sounds Dickensian, chimney sweeps today use modern cleaners, as well as vacuums and other tools to get the job done.


Chimney maintenance is crucial to your home safety because a dirty chimney is a fire hazard. In fact, it drastically increases the probability of chimney fires. These disasters happen when soot and ash combust. The fire sweeps through the inner tiles of the chimney, as well as the flue lines and stovepipes.

Additionally, leaving soot and ash in the fireplace can pollute the air of your home and make it difficult to breathe. If soot and ash enter your lungs, you put yourself at risk for lung and respiratory issues. While a chimney sweep has the right knowledge and tools to prevent this from happening to them, you don’t. This is why DIY chimney cleaning is a major no-no.


While it’s easy to forget about your chimney when sprucing up the rest of your home, it’s one of the most important areas to remember, not only for sanitation, but safety, too.

When was the last time you had your chimney cleaned? Now that you understand why chimney maintenance is so vital, it’s time to get started. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!