The incomplete by-product of combustion of fuel oil is unburden carbon & sulfur – called oil soot. Oil soot accumulates on the walls and at the base of the chimney, which should be inspected and cleaned annually by a reputable chimney professional.
The best time of the year to clean an oil chimney is in the spring time, after the heating season. During the winter, the oil furnace is subjected to long running cycles which will produce oil soot that may adhere to the sides of the chimney. The accumulation of these soot deposits will fall to the base of a masonry chimney, or directly into the top of the oil furnace if a metal chimney is located directly above the appliance. It will restrict the flow of flue gases which consist mostly of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Combustion will also produce carbon monoxide (which is a dangerous gas when not vented properly) which will spill back into the house instead of going up the chimney when the chimney base is not properly cleaned.
A big misconception on many homeowners’ part is that the oil service company takes care of the chimney. The oil companies do not clean chimneys. In most cases, they will services your furnace and clean the connector’s pipes from the furnace to the chimney, but they will not clean the chimney. Many oil furnaces service men tell the homeowner that the chimney is OK without even inspecting the entire chimney, which includes going to the roof and inspecting the interior as well as the exterior masonry (if applicable), flashing, chimney cap, etc.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211 Standards for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances Recommends all chimneys must be inspected and clean if needed once a year by a chimney professional
Annual inspection and cleaning by a reputable chimney professional will find these problems and give you recommended corrective actions. When the sweep arrives at your home to do the annual inspection and cleaning of the oil chimney, he will set up his equipment (vacuum, etc.), remove and inspect the connector pipes (the pipes from the oil furnace to the chimney) – careful as not to spill soot into the home. The chimney connector will be cleaned and closed off so that when the chimney is swept, no soot will enter the home. An inspection of the exterior chimney will be made, the chimney swept, and then the interior of the chimney inspected for deterioration and soundness. The sweep completes the exterior work and next returns inside and removes the soot that was brushed down the chimney. When the connector pipes are re-installed, the furnace will be restarted and checked for proper chimney draft.
Regular masonry fireplace chimney cleaning is $140.00 per flue