Recently, our chimney technicians at Winston’s Chimney Service had the distinct honor of cleaning and inspecting the chimneys of the US Supreme Court buildings, the 62 fireplaces in the senator’s and congressman’s offices in the US Capitol Building, and the Blair House in Washington D.C. A very proud moment for our company this past November. We provided the same professional service and care to the Capitol and US buildings that we do to all of our loyal customers in the Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland and DC area. These older buildings used to only rely on fireplaces for heat in the colder months. They have been updated with a modern HVAC system, but the fireplaces remain a part of the buildings design and are fully functional. That means every chimney should be professionally swept and inspected at least once a year according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s (CSIA) guidelines. We would like to tell you more about our chimney sweeping and inspecting process to give you an idea of what to expect when one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps arrives at your house, just as we did the U.S. Capitol and US Supreme Court buildings.


Winston's cleaning the Capitol chimneyAs the chimney technicians enter your home, the first thing they will do is examine the firebox and the flue opening and damper operation. This requires no special tools and is a visual inspection and gives the chimney technician a better overview of the condition and operation about your particular fireplace and chimney. This is technically described by the CSIA a level 1 inspection. As the chimney is cleaned from creosote, the technicians will inspect your chimney closer.


Creosote is the residue of everything that has come out of your chimney: smoke, gases, unburned wood particles, water vapors, and other byproducts of combustion. Its appearance can vary – black or brown, hardened or gooey, flaky or crusty. No matter what it looks like, all creosote is very dangerous because it is highly flammable. If you have a large build-up of creosote in your chimney that is not removed, you are risking a chimney fire. After a long, cold winter, spring can be an excellent time for the removal of creosote in your chimney. Not only is it a fire hazard, but creosote can also produce strong, unpleasant odors in the summer.


With video cameras attached to rods, Winston’s Chimney Service is able to get up-close views of the inside of your chimney. Technically speaking, this is a CSIA level 2 inspection that can alert us to problems like loose bricks or cracked mortar on the interior walls that would be hard to spot without the video camera. We can also find damage done by animals, creosote, and soot. This inspection allows us to be proactive in repairing your chimney if there are any problems, such as water leaks or flue blockages.

Chimney Sweeping the Capitol Building 003 - Northern Virginia - Winston's Chimney Service

Want to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweep and inspection from those trusted with the chimneys of the U.S. Capitol? Contact Winston’s Chimney Service to arrange a visit from one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps.