and what happens if you neglect them
The furnace flue is one of the most neglected parts of the home. The majority of emergency calls regarding chimneys is from the heating system and the need for furnace flue cleaning.
Don’t forget the furnace flue!
Most homeowners that burn wood at this stage know that they need to clean and inspect the chimneys periodically. But many homeowners are unaware that there is a second and separate chimney flue that services the heating system. It is assumed that the heating company services these, but what your oil man does is service your furnace. You may even have a service contract with him. What they will do for that is tune up the furnace. Some good contracts will provide brushing out the connector pipes and the base but they NEVER go up on the roof to clean nor inspect the chimney. We take over where they leave off and that is to brush the oil soot of the chimney walls from top to bottom as well as inspect the integrity of the chimney structure and chimney liner.
The National Fire Protection Assoc. 211 codes state that “chimneys must be inspected and cleaned if needed annually” – just like the oil service man services the furnace annually, so should the chimney system be serviced annually.
It is unfortunate that many oil servicemen don`t mention the chimney during their visit. When they finally do, its because it is past the point of routine maintenance. It is clogged or the chimney has eroded and collapsed. During the winter we average 1-2 Emergency phone calls EVERY day with regards to furnaces being shut down due to lack of maintenance. At this stage it is beyond cleaning. Unclogging an oil/flue blockage can run multiple hundreds of dollars, especially on an emergency basis in the middle of the busy season.