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Why Your Chimney Needs to Be Clean

Having a clean chimney is critical because a dirty chimney can set your house on fire. Built-up creosote—the sticky substance that over time adheres to the sides of your chimney when wood isn’t burned completely—causes chimney fires. A dirty chimney can also lead to carbon monoxide intrusion and other chimney-related hazards that result in the loss of lives and property. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Lung Association are all in agreeance that regular maintenance of chimneys can go a long way to prevent “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide, from entering your home.

To understand why it’s important to have a clean chimney, you must first understand the function of a chimney. A chimney is designed to move toxic fumes—the by-products of combustion—out of the house. Chimneys also create the draft that provides the proper air and fuel mixture for efficient operation of your heating appliance. Lots of chimneys that are in daily use in American homes either aren’t the correct size or aren’t in the right condition to perform their intended function.

What Happens During a Chimney Sweep

When most people think of a chimney sweep, they think of Dick Van Dyke’s character in Mary Poppins—covered in soot and toting a long chimney brush. But nowadays traditional chimney sweeping has met with state-of-the-art cleaning methods, so that chimney sweep Gary Pozzi uses both that long-handled chimney brush we’re all familiar with and rotary cleaning rods that are powered by a cordless drill. These cleaning rods have special vacuums that keep homes clear of dust and debris.

Also when cleaning chimneys, Pozzi uses a “Chim-Scan” video camera, which attaches to a rod and captures still images and video that show up on his computer screen in real time. This camera not only allows Pozzi to find defects like broken tile and crumbling mortar, but it allows you the homeowner to see the problems for yourself. Homeowners want to make sure that they’re not being scammed or taken advantage of by a chimney sweep, and a picture can say a thousand words about the condition of your chimney. When information is locked away in not so easy to access spaces such as chimneys, this remote vision offers a new level of understanding.

How to Tell If Your Chimney Needs Maintenance

Often times a “sick” chimney shows no real symptoms. Chimneys play an important role in keeping dangerous gases out of your home and protecting your house from fire, but they are too often forgotten because they’re mostly hidden away behind walls and bricks. Your chimney needs to be inspected annually whether or not you suspect it needs maintenance because often times there are unseen problems that only a certified chimney sweep can detect. However, the CSIA says there are several clear indicators that may show you that your chimney needs some work:

  • A discolored or stained black chimney opening. If smoke is entering your home and discoloring your fireplace opening, it’s likely because your chimney is not venting properly.
  • A strong odor. Lots of people say they like “that fire smell,” but the truth is that your fireplace shouldn’t have much of an odor at all. If there is a smoky smell, it likely means that your chimney isn’t pulling all of the smoke and fumes out of our house like it should be.
  • Cracks in the mortar or loose bricks. If you can see that the firebricks inside your fireplace are loose or that the mortar is breaking away, these may be signs that you have a structural problem that can lead to big problems in the future.

To schedule your chimney and fireplace sweeping with Pozzi Chimney Sweep, call us at 815-286-9922 or email us at


In order to know what you really need, schedule your chimney and fireplace inspection with us today. You can count on our chimney and vent service expertise.

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I would like to speak to you about my experience with the Pozzi Chimney Sweep. It was mid October 2012 when I called about a problem with our chimney, asked Gary to check it out. Gary was here right away, did a good thorough check, said we needed to replace the old chimney liner, which we had Gary and his people do. In a short time the problem was taken care of, did no short cuts, everything was proper, looks real good as well.
~ Happy Customer