Chimney & Fireplace FAQs


  1. My Chimney smells like soot, especially on humid days.
  2. I have cold air coming into my house from my fireplace when not in use.
  3. Why do I need a chimney cap?
  4. My damper won't open what should I do?
  5. I have staining starting to appear on my chimney walls what is causing this?
  6. My fireplace smokes when I use it, is there anything you can do?
  7. How often should I have my chimney cleaned?
  8. My fireplace stinks, especially in the summer. What can I do?
  9. When I build a fire in my upstairs fireplace, I get smoke from the basement fireplace.
  10. I heat with gas. Should this chimney be checked too?
  11. How do I know if he really cleaned my chimney?
  12. Why is it important to have a clean chimney? What happens if I don’t get my chimney swept?
  13. How often should I have my fireplace inspected and/or cleaned?
  14. What method does Dr. Flue use for cleaning?
  15. What causes chimney fires?
  16. How long does the service take?
  17. How soon in advance should I contact you?


My Chimney smells like soot, especially on humid days.

Almost every chimney has a odor. Most smells are pulled up the chimney by draft. However some chimney's have "downdrafts". This is caused by wind, or pressure problems inside the house. The chimney will most likely never stop smelling, but there are ways to get the smell heading in the right direction.

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I have cold air coming into my house from my fireplace when not in use.

A downdraft is most often caused by pressure differences. Normally air leaves the house through the chimney. However, if there is greater pressure outside a chimney then inside that room, you will have air rushing down the flue into your home.

You should make sure your damper is closed when you are not burning. If there is still a problem we have top mounted dampers that operate with a pull cord attached in the fireplace.

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Why do I need a chimney cap?

Chimney caps help keep rain out of your chimney flue. Rain causes mortar joints to erode and metal parts of your fire place to rust. Caps are very cheap in comparison to the costly repairs that they prevent.

Caps will also keep birds, bats, and animals out of your chimney and home.

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My damper won't open what should I do?

If you are familiar with the damper and how it operates, try and open it as normal. If it will not move it could be blocked from behind or on top. Another possibility is that it's rusted shut. Either instance is a warning sign and should be looked into immediately.

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I have staining starting to appear on my chimney walls what is causing this?

Most stains are carried through the brick by moisture. If moisture is able to leak through the flue onto the brick further deterioration is close behind. If caught early enough this problem can be stopped and no further staining is necessary.

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My fireplace smokes when I use it, is there anything you can do?

First make sure the damper is open. As obvious as this sounds it is a common problem.

If it is more difficult to pinpoint: The more information you have for us the better. i.e.: Wind direction, temp. inside and outside, windy or calm, does it happen often, and how soon does it start smoking?

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How often should I have my chimney cleaned?

When it has enough accumulation (1/8” or more)

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My fireplace stinks, especially in the summer. What can I do?

The fact that your chimney is venting into your home is a MAJOR indoor air quality concern. Creosote contains hydrocarbons which have been proven carcinogens. Doctor Flue can diagnose why your chimney is not performing as it should for our normal Performance evaluation (Level 1 inspection).

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When I build a fire in my upstairs fireplace, I get smoke from the basement fireplace.

This is a very serious and common problem. We have cameras available to inspect the interior of your flues to see why this is happening. This is also a large concern for indoor air quality.

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I heat with gas. Should this chimney be checked too?

All gas appliance manuals call for Annual service by a qualified technician. Most manufactures suggest a NFI certified gas technician. All of our Gas technicians are certified by BOTH the CSIA and NFI. Gas log sets are commonly overlooked. A simple Gas log checkup can save you hundreds in replacement costs. Gas log refurbishing can even get your log set back to almost new appearance (in most cases). Early detection of gas leaks are the best prevention

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How do I know if he really cleaned my chimney?

The single most important part of the chimney sweep is the technician you have hired. Doctor flue provides before and after pictures of every job upon request.

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Why is it important to have a clean chimney? What happens if I don’t get my chimney swept?

It is important to sweep your chimney to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. Chimney fires are a real danger, a clean flue doesn’t burn!

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How often should I have my fireplace inspected and/or cleaned?

Annual inspections are required by fire code. Chimney cleanings should be performed when creosote accumulation reaches 1/8”

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What method does Dr. Flue use for cleaning?

We have several methods available on all of our service trucks, including power cleaning rods, spindles of chains for glazed creosote removal, and several types of the “old school” style brushes. Some systems require specific styles of tools so as not to damage your fireplace or chimney. Our CSIA certified technicians are trained to properly asses the type of system, type of creosote, and best method for a safe cleaning

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What causes chimney fires?

When creosote accumulation inside the venting system ignites.

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How long does the service take?

This can range from 1hr to 3hrs depending on the system and home

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How soon in advance should I contact you?

The best time to contact us is as soon as you are done using your fireplace or appliance.

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