Wood-Burning Inserts

We Clean & Sweep Wood-Burning Inserts!

Wood-burning inserts are great products that can quickly turn a poorly performing fireplace into an efficient heat-producing appliance when installed correctly. In a simplified sense, inserts are like woodstoves that have been specifically designed and sized to slip into an existing fireplace space, and vent using an existing chimney. The result, particularly with EPA-certified units, is a heating appliance that makes incredible use of fuel and produces less creosote in the appliance and chimney. However, if improperly installed, the appliance will not work as efficiently and as safely as it was designed to and can pose a danger to you and your home. That’s why it’s important to have your wood-burning insert installed by experienced professionals, like the ones at Old Hat Chimney Service. With our certified technicians, you can rest knowing that your new appliance is installed according to manufacturer’s specifications and ready to go.

That said, inserts designed to burn wood still produce creosote, and that creosote still needs to be cleaned from the appliance and chimney. As with a wood-burning fireplace or woodstove, creosote can build up in the chimney and constrict the flue, block the chimney cap and create a fire hazard in the system. Regular creosote removal is key to having an appliance that performs well and provides the level of safety you expect and desire.

Cleaning A Wood-burning Insert

When Old Hat Chimney Service technicians arrive to sweep your wood-burning insert and chimney, we’ll first follow the same cleanliness procedures we would with any other appliance, laying out dropcloths to make sure soot and dirt don’t get transferred to surfaces in your living area. We’ll then start the process of cleaning the system bottom to top. Depending on the system and the levels of creosote, the full sweeping process usually takes around an hour to an hour and a half.

The overall process is a detailed one. Most new inserts are installed with a baffle above the combustion chamber (or firebox), usually made of firebrick; that baffle will be removed (and cleaned) so that the creosote can be swept from the flue. For inserts with metal flue liners, we’ll use a poly (or sturdy plastic) brush that’s specifically designed for use with those liners, since wire brushes have been known to cause damage. We’ll also check and clean the chimney cap at the top of the flue, to make sure it isn’t blocked. The combustion chamber will be thoroughly cleaned, and the now-clean baffle will be replaced.

When your system is thoroughly cleaned, we’ll perform a standard Level 1 inspection, checking your appliance and chimney for any kind of damage or issues that might be preventing top performance.

With a completed inspection, any signs of our visit — aside from a nice clean insert and chimney — will be packed up. When we leave, you’ll have a wood-burning insert that’s ready to provide warmth, light and ambiance, and a chimney that’s prepped to perform the important job of venting the byproducts of that fire.

If your wood-burning insert and chimney haven’t been swept yet this year, call Old Hat Chimney Service at 770-529-2654, or click here — our NFI- and CSIA-certified technicians are ready to provide you with a cleaner, better-performing appliance!


To keep your masonry chimney operating safely and efficiently, have it swept and cleaned regularly. It’s an easy way to gain more peace of mind for you and your family.

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