FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


1. How often do I need to clean my wood-burning fireplace chimney?
2. Is cleaning the fireplace a messy job?
3. Do I need to be home?
4. I see water coming into the firebox of my fireplace and I also see water stains on the ceiling and the wall next to the fireplace, can you help me?
5. When I use my fireplace smoke backs up into my house, can this problem be solved?
6. I have gaps and cracks in the walls of my prefab fireplace. Do you install replacement parts for pre-fab fireplaces?
7. My fireplace smells especially during the summer when itís hot and humid. Is there any relief for me?
8. How do I know that my chimney /firebox needs tuckpointing, and, or rebuilding?
9. I recently changed my furnace and/or water heater and now I see water on the floor near my furnace, can you help me?
10. What can you do about a whitish discoloration on the outside of my chimney?
11. My clothes donít dry as fast as they used to, and Iíve been told that the problem is not in the dryer. Can you help me?
12. How do I pay for this service?
My fireplace stinks, especially in the summer. What can I do?
When I build a fire in my upstairs fireplace, I get smoke from the basement fireplace.
I heat with gas. Should this chimney be checked too?


1. How often do I need to clean my wood-burning fireplace chimney?
It is recommended that a wood- burning fireplace be cleaned after one cord of wood has been burned since the last time the fireplace was cleaned. According to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Code 211 an inspection is recommended annually.

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2. Is cleaning the fireplace a messy job?
At Doctor Soot Chimney Service we offer a no mess guarantee. We understand that your home is your castle and we will treat your property with the utmost of respect at all times.

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3. Do I need to be home?
Yes, the fireplace, furnace flue or dryer vent cleaning are done from the inside of the home, and sometimes also from the outside.

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4. I see water coming into the firebox of my fireplace and I also see water stains on the ceiling and the wall next to the fireplace. Can you help me?
Yes, Doctor Soot Chimney Service can help you prevent future leaks, but doing these repairs will not undue existing stains. Doctor Soot Chimney Service installs protective chimney covers and dampers. We seal crowns and flashings and also do chimney tuckpointing and chimney rebuilding.

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5. When I use my fireplace smoke backs up into my house. Can Doctor Soot Chimney Service help?
Yes. Smoke problems occur for a variety of reasons. In some cases the fireplace has a poor draw, in other situations smoke travels to other parts of the house through gaps in the liner. In other homes wind blows down the flue.

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6. I have gaps and cracks in the walls of my prefab fireplace. Do you install replacement parts for pre-fab fireplaces?
Yes, Doctor Soot Chimney Service installs back walls, sidewalls and other parts such as spider dampers for Majestic, Marco, and Superior fireplace units.

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7. My fireplace smells especially during the summer when itís hot and humid. Is there any relief for me?
Yes and no. There are a variety of situations that result in the ďburntĒ odor in your home. Chimney deodorants may offer temporary relief. Doctor Soot Chimney Service also offers a deodorizing service at the end of the burning season that may provide relief during the summer months until the next fire is burned.

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8. How do I know that my chimney and/or firebox needs tuckpointing and/or rebuilding?
Take a close look at the walls of your masonry chimney. Do you see cracks, crumbling bricks, uneven areas of mortar, voids, and noticeable gaps between the bricks? If the answer is yes or you are not sure, then contact Doctor Soot Chimney Service' Masonry Restoration Division to provide an estimate for repair of the damaged areas on your chimney.

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9. I recently changed my furnace and/or water heater and now I see water on the floor near my furnace. Can you help me?
Yes, a new liner that is correctly sized to properly vent the gases and prevent condensation may provide a solution.

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10. What can you do about a whitish discoloration on the outside of my chimney?
The whitish discoloration on the exterior of the furnace chimney is efflorescence. It is caused by the escape of gases through gaps in the liner. Doctor Soot Chimney Service will make specific recommendations about installing a new liner and tuckpointing or rebuilding the chimney if necessary.

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11. My clothes donít dry as fast as they used to, and Iíve been told that the problem is not in the dryer. Can you help me?
Yes. Very often dryer exhausts become clogged with lint and other debris, such as nesting material. Doctor Soot Chimney Service uses special equipment to clear the passageway.

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12. How do I pay for this service?
Payment is made on the day the service is done. We are pleased to accept personal checks, Visa and MasterCard. Financing is available on large projects.

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13. My fireplace stinks, especially in the summer. What can I do?
The smell is due to creosote deposits in the chimney, a natural byproduct of wood burning. The odor is usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high and the air conditioner is turned on. A good cleaning will help but usually won't solve the problem completely. There are commercial chimney deodorants that work pretty well, and many people have good results with baking soda or even kitty litter set in the fireplace. The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house. Some make-up air should be introduced somewhere else in the house. A tight sealing, top mounted damper will also reduce this air flow coming down the chimney.

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14. When I build a fire in my upstairs fireplace, I get smoke from the basement fireplace.
This has become quite a common problem in modern air tight houses where weather-proofing has sealed up the usual air infiltration routes. The fireplace in use exhausts household air until a negative pressure situation exists. If the house is fairly tight, the simplest route for makeup air to enter the structure is often the unused fireplace chimney. As air is drawn down this unused flue, it picks up smoke that is exiting nearby from the fireplace in use and delivers the smoke to the living area. The best solution is to provide makeup air to the house so the negative pressure problem no longer exists, thus eliminating not only the smoke problem, but also the potential for carbon monoxide to be drawn back down the furnace chimney. A secondary solution is to install a top mount damper on the fireplace that is used the least.

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15. I heat with gas. Should this chimney be checked too?
Without a doubt! Although gas is generally a clean burning fuel, the chimney can become non-functional from bird nests or other debris blocking the flue. Modern furnaces can also cause many problems with the average flues intended to vent the older generation of furnaces. We suggest you check the areas on gas and carbon monoxide for more information.

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Doctor Soot Chimney Service     |     Phone: (845) 297-2616     |     Fax: (845) 297-5727     |     Email: DoctorSoot@Verizon.net