Before chimneys were invented, architectural structures could only be one story tall because it was impossible to contain the smoke from an indoor fire. Thus, the question, how often should you clean your fireplace chimney would have been moot. Though chimney like tubes were utilized in ancient Rome, the modern chimney only came to prominence in 12th century Northern Europe.
It was during the medieval period that the occupation of chimney sweep came into being. Most of us have gleaned all knowledge of chimney sweeping as a career from the Disney film, “Mary Poppins.” However, the job of chimney sweep initially became necessary during the middle ages because entire towns often burned to the ground back then. Most people did not even know how to clean a chimney back then, much less were they able to answer the question, how often should you clean your fireplace chimney. Only chimney sweeps were capable of answering the question, how often should you clean your fireplace chimney, at the time.
In the early 1800s, it was not uncommon for children to work as chimney sweeps because their limited width made it easy for them to crawl up into the chimney and extract built up soot. The working conditions for young chimney sweeps were deplorable, such that the poet William Blake dedicated poetic verse to the subject in the landmark volume, “Songs of Innocence and Experience.” In 1840, using children as chimney sweep labor was prohibited due to the passage of the Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Act.
There is nothing like a nice warm fire flickering in the fireplace on a cold, winter night while you and your spouse snuggle up on the couch drinking hot toddies and listening to Beethoven. But just how often should you clean your fireplace chimney? That is a question you are probably asking if you recently moved into a home with a fireplace, and you have never had one before. How often should you clean your fireplace chimney is a good question, but the answer depends on a number of variables.
Obviously, if you use your fireplace a lot, the correct response to the question of how often should you clean your fireplace chimney is going to indicate a higher level of frequency than if you only use your fire place once or twice a year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, chimneys ought to be inspected at minimum once annually to determine the soundness of the chimney structure, whether it is free from deposits, and whether clearances have been properly maintained. Based on inspection results, you will be informed as to whether cleaning your chimney is indicated.
One way to make sure that you do not have to worry over the question of how often should you clean your fireplace chimney is to use chimney flue liners. Chimney liners prevent soot from building up and clogging the flue. The installation of chimney flue lining has been encouraged since the dawn of the 20th century. However, building codes differ depending on the locality. Using chimney liners means you will not have to ask, “how often should you clean your fireplace chimney” for a good long while!