October 15, 2019

Why a Clean Chimney May Need a Boiler Tweak

With cooler weather creeping in – thoughts of sipping coffee, hot chocolate, or other libations in front of a roaring fire with smoke emitting from the chimney being to set it. But before those delightful thoughts can become a reality, there are some housekeeping items that must be attended too, such as: Do you have enough wood to get through the Winter season, where did you store the fireplace tools, and when was the last time you had the chimney cleaned?

If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned and inspected yet, it’s recommended that your chimney be inspected and cleaned if needed once a year – and not just by the chimney cleaners – it’s just good fire and home safety to inspect it yourself. Add it to your yearly to-do list along with having your boiler or furnace is inspected.

So, how’s the connection between your heating system and your chimney?

Your heating system AKA your boiler or furnace must have a vent that leads outside and normally that vent will be a chimney flue. When you have your annual boiler/furnace tune up, your service technician will  set the burner to the correct temperature for your specific chimney flue. A narrow flue means that the burner temperature will be lower than for a larger flue. Often ‘narrow’ means ‘not recently cleaned.’ Which could be a problem.

Picture this: Your service tech comes to do your annual boiler tune up late Summer/early Fall and makes sure that your boiler is running in excellent condition. He also sets your burner temperature according to your chimney draft. He thanks you for your loyalty, wishes you a happy Winter, and he’ll see you next year. You have your chimney sweep scheduled for the following week to inspect your chimney, clean it, and make sure it’s safe. He finds that it’s been a few years since it’s been cleaned and there is some soot built up in the flue which has narrowed the opening, but no worries he’s got it all cleaned up and ready to use.

See the problem yet? Now that your flue is all cleaned out and void of any soot build up, the opening is now larger than it was when the heating technician worked on the boiler/furnace and set the burner temperature.

Yikes! Now when you use your heat,  the burner temperature is set too low for the clean flue and the boiler won’t draft as well. Not only will you be burning more fuel to keep your home at your desired temperature, BUT the poor draft is now going to cause a buildup of soot in the lower part of the flue. The soot will eventually fall back down and into the boiler clogging up the burner.

Having yearly inspections/cleanings of your heating system AND your chimney are vital to having an efficient, well-running, and safe home. When it comes to scheduling your cleaning, always make sure to have your chimney cleaned first. If it can’t be avoided due to scheduling conflicts, let us know and we can stop by and make any adjustments needed.

Still haven’t scheduled your annual boiler or furnace clean up? Give us a call today at 860.274.3284 to make your appointment.

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