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Do I need to clean my chimney if I don’t use my fireplace?

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If you’re a homeowner, you must regularly do some required maintenance activities to ensure your property is in a better condition. One of them is cleaning your chimney, even if you don’t use your fireplace.

Do I need to clean my chimney if I don’t use my fireplace? This is one of the most common questions homeowners ask themself. The answer is YES! You still need to have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually, whether you use your fireplace or not.

It’s critical to have your chimney cleaned and checked annually, even if you don’t use your fireplace.

This is because your chimney, as well as animals and weather, is still susceptible to corrosion.

Creosote and soot can accumulate over time, which may blacken your chimney. Additionally, animals may also seek refuge in your chimney and construct nests that obstruct the flue, allowing toxic gases to enter your house.

How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney if You Don’t Use It?

According to the NFPA, it’s essential to clean your chimney at least once a year, whether you use it or not. Birds, raccoons, and squirrels like to build nests in them. If you don’t have your chimney cleaned, these animals can cause a fire.

If you don’t use your fireplace, you should still have your chimney checked for blockages before the burning season begins. This will ensure everything works correctly if you need to use your fireplace.

How Do You Know When Your Chimney Needs Sweeping?

Signs of a Dirty Chimney indicate that your chimney needs attention. If you notice this, consider calling a professional cleaner, or you can also do the cleaning yourself.

1. You Can See Soot or Measure the Layer of Creosote.

Once you start seeing soot inside your chimney, And the layer of soot and creosote is above ⅛”, That means your chimney needs sweeping and it’s time to schedule your chimney sweep appointment . Soot comprises partially combusted materials like wood, coal, and oil, usually black or dark brown.

2. Weird Noises Coming from Your Chimney or Fireplace

If you hear strange noises from your chimney, it could signify that it needs to be cleaned. These noises are usually from animals nesting in your chimney or debris lodged in the flue.

3. Sparks Flying Out of The Chimney

Sparks flying out of your chimney is another sign that it’s time for a sweep. When using your fireplace, the hot air and gases travel up the flue and out of your chimney. If there’s soot or debris buildup in the flue, it can cause sparks to fly out of the top of the chimney.


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4. Evidence of Animal Nests or Droppings

When you have a dirty chimney, it becomes an attractive place for animals to nest. If you see evidence of animal nests or droppings in your chimney, it’s time to call a professional to clean it out.

5. Your Fireplace Is Not Drawing Well

This is often common in the springtime when the weather is still cool, but there hasn’t been a lot of rain. If your fireplace is not drawing well, the airflow in your chimney is restricted. This can be caused by soot or debris buildup in the flue.

Therefore, if you see any of these signs, it’s time to call a professional chimney sweeper to clean your chimney. A clean chimney will prevent fires and extend your fireplace’s life.

Is It Safe to Use a Fireplace That Hasn’t Been Used in Years?

No, a fireplace that hasn’t been used in years is unsafe. If you don’t clean your chimney, soot and creosote can build up and cause a fire.

It’s best to have it inspected and cleaned by a professional before using it again. You should also consider a chimney cap for the unused chimney.

Here are the main reasons why you want to inspect your chimney before using it:

A Dirty Chimney Can Be a Fire Hazard and Cause Respiratory Problem

If you have a fireplace that you haven’t used in years, it’s essential to have it cleaned before using it again. A professional will be able to inspect the chimney and clean it of any soot or creosote that may have built up over time.

This is important because a dirty chimney can be a fire hazard and cause respiratory problems.


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Decreased Efficiency

Another reason to have your fireplace cleaned is that it can help increase its efficiency. When there is a buildup of soot and creosote, it can cause the fireplace to work less efficiently. This means that you’ll be using more fuel to heat your home, which can end up costing you more money in the long run.

Dangerous Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A fireplace that hasn’t been used for years may put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is because the buildup of soot and creosote can block the chimney, which can cause carbon monoxide to build up in your home.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly if inhaled.

Water Damage Around the Fireplace

There might also be water damage around the fireplace that you can’t see. If the flue is damaged, water can enter the chimney and cause damage to the structure of your home. This is why it’s crucial to have a professional inspect your fireplace before using it again.

Unused Fireplace Cleaning Cost

The price of a chimney sweep can range from $129 to $379. The national average is approximately $252.

The price tends to vary depending on your region and how much your chimney needs cleaning. This is why covering an unused fireplace is vital if you don’t want to use it.


It’s essential to get your chimney checked and cleaned annually, even if you don’t use it regularly. It’s best to be safe than sorry when it comes to fires in the home.

Additionally, leaving soot and creosote in your chimney can cause long-term damage that is expensive to repair. If you have any questions or concerns, contact a professional chimney sweep.

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Thomas Green

Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.