Inspecting and cleaning fireplaces and chimneys is essential for the safety and efficiency of your wood burning unit. Remember, some projects are better left to professionals, but with basic tools and common sense, you can get a pretty good idea of the condition of yours.
Start by cleaning your fireplaces firebox. Brush the sides and bottom with a stiff broom or chimney brush. Vacuum out the loosened ashes and if possible remove the andirons.
Some of the items you will want to ensure meet your installation requirements are; ensure you have adequate length of vent pipe, use only rated products for your pellet stove, eliminate use of elbows if possible, ensure vent pipe is all the same size and always use a surge protector for outlet.
Inspecting the chimney involves an interior and exterior inspection of metal or masonry chimney. If climbing a roof is an issue then a professional should be called in. Any chimney must have adequate capacity, the correct height, proper location, proper clearance from combustibles and proper mechanical support to be safe. When an efficient airtight stove is selected and installed with a proper chimney, the proper operation of stove is largely dependent on the skill of the operator.
Inspect the roof, this usually involves climbing a ladder to access the masonry or metal chimney. Remove chimney cap or cover and shine a powerful light into chimney to look for harmful creosote build up or damaged flue tiles.
A vent shall not terminate less than 2.1 m above any public sidewalk, lane or street or right of way. It shall not be within 1.8 m of a mechanical air supply inlet to a building. The vent shall not be within 1 m of a building opening or air inlet or another appliance or within 1 meter of the center line of an exterior gas meter.
If you are buying an older home with a masonry fireplace it is always recommended that you hire a professional chimney sweep to clean chimney prior to having WETT inspection. It is impossible to see cracked tiles or deterioration if chimney has layer of soot and creosote on tiles. Cleaning chimney will remove soot and creosote and allow proper inspection of fireplace chimney. Usually professional chimney sweeps are also WETT Certified.