Chimneys should be serviced as least once year, usually prior to the start of fall and winter when chimneys will be put to greater use and their efficiency and overall condition is vital to the safe operation of the heating system for the building as well as the health and safety of anyone within the building.
For a chimney to be in proper working order it not only needs to be swept but it also needs to be inspected for cracks or other structural issues that can occur over time or after an especially harsh weather period.
For chimneys that do not have caps, the possibility of not just wind-blown debris such as leaves and pollen but also animal and bird infiltration is a concern. And even after any animals or birds who may have taken up residence in your chimney are removed, they may leave behind residue in the form of bodily secretions and remains of food. If these are not identified and removed they may invite a new set of problems in the form of insect infiltration or, even worse, bacterial and other biological remains that could cause even greater health problems.
Once the chimney has been properly cleaned, a chimney cap should be installed or if there is one and it is showing its age it may need to be replaced. This will ensure that future cleanings and service will be quicker as possible damage will be averted.