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Schedule a Chimney Sweep for the New Year

The New Year has finally arrived, bringing some chilly air along with it. Staying warm is a top priority this time of year, and for some, that means putting the fireplace to good use. Homeowners in the Boston area have likely been using their fireplaces and wood stoves for a couple months already, but that does not mean it is too late to have a sweep of the chimney done. In fact, if it has been over a year since the chimney was last swept, now is the perfect time to call up a chimney sweep.

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Experts recommend having the chimney swept at least once every year – more often if the fireplace or wood stove receives heavy, regular use. Chimney sweeps serve very important functions, which is why experts encourage them so fervently. The first major purpose of a chimney sweep is to remove any creosote from the interior lining. Creosote forms as a result of burning any type of wood but particularly burning wet or sappy wood. This black, tarry material floats up the chimney along with the smoke, and as it cools, it clings to the lining of the chimney. With every fire, it continuously builds up, leaving behind a thick layer over time. If left to build up, the creosote can actually close off the air flow through the chimney, which can cause back draft of smoke into the house. However, the bigger hazard of creosote is its high flammability. If a stray ember lands on a layer of creosote, a chimney fire could ensue. Additionally, creosote burns at a temperature many times higher than wood fires, making these fires nearly impossible to extinguish in a reasonable amount of time. Fortunately, routine chimney sweeps can greatly reduce, if not eliminate, these risks.

The other main function of a chimney sweep is to identify and remove any obstructions in the chimney. As mentioned, built up creosote can obstruct the flow of air in the chimney, but other objects can cause this as well. Especially around this time of year, animals are on the lookout for a safe place to stay, and a warm chimney can seem like the perfect spot to get out of the elements. Regrettably, this can cause some problems for everyone. A bird, squirrel, or even raccoon and its nest at the top of the flue inhibit the flow of smoke out of the chimney. If the smoke cannot exit through the chimney, it ends up filling the house. Smoke contains toxic chemicals like creosote and carbon monoxide, which can cause serious health problems when inhaled. A regular chimney sweep can easily locate such a risk and remove it in order to keep your home and family safe.

While it is wise to have the chimney checked and swept prior to each burning season, now is still a great time to have a chimney sweep out. With several cold months left, the fireplace will receive its fair share of use, so have a sweep out to make sure everything is safe and functional. If you live in the Boston area, contact Above and Beyond Chimney Service to schedule an appointment.