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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.

My Chimney Stinks!

Are you sick of breathing in that foul smell coming from your fireplace and chimney? All you have to do is call, and we'll get rid of that stench once and for all.

Are you sick of breathing in that foul smell coming from your fireplace and chimney? All you have to do is call, and we’ll get rid of that stench once and for all.

Fireplace smells and chimney odor problems can be attributed to a handful of different things. The root cause of the majority of fireplace smells, however, is creosote deposits—a natural byproduct of burning wood—inside your chimney. The odors are usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high, on rainy days, and/or when your air conditioner is running. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweep can help minimize your fireplace and chimney odors, thereby improving your home’s air quality in the process.

The Hidden Source of Your Chimney Odors

Believe it or not, even after having your chimney professionally swept, you can still have odor issues. Creosote absorbs into the porous masonry construction inside your chimney, embedding the fireplace smell deep beyond the masonry’s surface. A chimney sweep will remove the surface buildup of creosote to limit the possibility of a chimney fire; however, the odors that have absorbed into the masonry itself will remain. The key now is to simply keep the unpleasant odors from entering your living spaces.

Draft Issues Bring the Smell In

The smell is brought to your attention as a result of air coming down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure and draft problems. Normally, as long as the draft is working correctly and there is no negative airflow in the home, the smells will remain inside the chimney. In the event that negative airflow becomes a problem, however, the air brings the inner fireplace smells and chimney odors right along with it as it exits vacates the chimney and fireplace and enters your living space. A quick solution to the negative air pressure is to simply keep a window cracked at all times to enable the pressure to change through the window rather than the chimney, ultimately keeping the odors locked away inside your chimney and away from your nose.

Sealing Out the Smell

For a more permanent approach to keeping the smell that’s exuding from your fireplace and chimney’s masonry away from your nose, you need to limit the amount of air that’s able to come down your chimney in the first place. Closing your throat-mount damper is a good start, however, the metal-on-metal closure here is far from airtight. A top-sealing damper can help to minimize the airflow and reduce the accompanying fireplace smells significantly, if not altogether. In addition to taking care of your airflow problems, a top-sealing damper will help keep rainwater and moisture out of your chimney, too.

There’s never a bad time to schedule a chimney inspection. Chimney sweeps are available year round to inspect and clean your chimney. Don’t allow these unpleasant smells to become a problem in your home. As soon as you notice them coming from your fireplace, contact the chimney professionals at Above and Beyond Chimney Service. We strive to both exceed your expectations on every level and make your chimney and vent maintenance services as painless and convenient as possible.

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