chimney inspection/cleaning

I have a wood burning fireplace that I use about once a week. It has a metal flue.
How often does it need professional inspection or cleaning. It was checked when I bought the house 7 years ago.
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Once a week is not much, but have it checked now. Seven years is risky, but at the rate you use it, it may be abel to go more than once a year.

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A few things....
1. What ever it must be, I think you are over due. :)
2. I would contact your insurance company, some have 'required maintainance' to maintain underwriting protection.
3. I would contact your fire company. If they are honest they will inform you of the NFPA suggestions, and their own observations. I've run into paid companys that 'refuse' to advise home owners of any information, I guess they get paid per fire. ;)
4. I would only use a BBB rated, company. I've seen too many fly by night certifications peddled on the net. So stick with a sweep with a long standing good reputation, also fully insured, and complient with all local codes and licenses.
Just a FYI, since it is your home, not mine.
In My Humble Option,
tom @ www.NoCostAds.com
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It should be inspected at the beginning of each burning season, at the minimum. Given that it hasn't burst into flame yet, it probably won't NEED cleaning that often, but since whoever's doing the inspection is up there anyway, they might as well.
The inspection isn't just about creasote build up, you want to look for damage, blockages, and unexpected live and dead animals, too. Being up there gives you a chance to look at the flashing around the roof penetration, and at how the roofing is doing, too.
The amount of build-up is a function of how long and what temperature you burn what kind of wood, the efficiency of the stove, and whether or not you've got a functioning afterburner/catalytic converter.
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House Maven wrote:

It should be checked and cleaned once a year. The level of cleaning it needs is not going to be the same every year, but after 7 years of once-a-week use I would think you're going to need a good scrubbing.
Is your chimney lined with a steel chimney liner? Older houses with wood-burning fireplaces often were built with terra cotta liners that usually last 50-75 years. So if you don't have a replacement steel liner yet, it may be time to get one. A chimney sweep will tell you if this is the case, but this is one reason to get that annual check. Even if you have a newer liner, after 7 years you definitely want to get it inspected to make sure it's holding up. I think steel liners are only rated for 25 years or so.
If your old liner is breaking down, you may end up with carbon monoxide leaking into your house. You really don't want to mess around with chimneys; annual checkups are so cheap that there's no reason not to have them done. (The guy we use charges like $30 for the inspection and cleaning.)
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Read what was posted.
Metal flue is not just a liner, but the triple walled sections. He does not have a chimney.
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