Why You Need to Hire a Chimney Sweep Right Now
A fireplace adds beauty, value, and ambiance to your home but requires routine maintenance and upkeep to ensure it operates safely and efficiently. Failing to clean your chimney regularly puts you at risk of flue blockage and fires. Knowing this, however, many homeowners still don’t stay up to date with chimney cleaning. Let’s look at why chimney cleaning and maintenance are crucial and what can happen if you neglect them.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide, dubbed the silent killer, is a colorless, odorless gas that many people associate with the danger of running gas appliances like stoves or furnaces. However, dirty chimneys are a significant source of carbon monoxide poisoning, and it causes thousands of people to seek medical attention every year.
If there’s a blockage in your flue, the carbon monoxide gas produced by the combustion won’t vent properly and flows back into the house. Because carbon monoxide blends seamlessly into the air, you and your family members can breathe in this deadly gas for hours before you realize there’s a problem. Routine chimney cleaning performed by a trained professional keeps the flue clear, so this fatal gas vents outside,
keeping your family safe.
Increased Fireplace Efficiency
For your fireplace to work properly, you need proper venting and airflow. Without a clear chimney, your fire may go out more often or not burn as hot as you want, making for a frustrating experience. One of the significant causes of fireplace inefficiency is soot buildup along the chimney’s interior walls. And while you may not think a little soot is concerning, it only takes 1/10th of an inch of soot layer to cut your fireplace efficiency in half.
Quicker Inspections & Maintenance
Many homeowners see their fireplace and chimney as sturdy structures built to last for years. And while this is true, they’re subjected to high temperatures, extreme weather, and moisture that cause them to wear down. Routine chimney sweeping and inspections allow your professional technician to identify minor issues and suggest repairs before they get out of hand or become dangerous. However, if your chimney is dirty, it is difficult for even the most seasoned inspector to find problems.
Protection Against Fire
It’s not something you read about regularly, but chimney fires are alarming. According to statistics, there are roughly 25,000 chimney fires annually in the United States, resulting in millions old dollars in damage and injuries. The good news is that most chimney fires are preventable. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, most chimney fires occur because of a dirty chimney.
Smoke from burned wood contains wood particles, which cool as they pass through your chimney. As it cools, condensation forms along the chimney’s interior walls, forming a substance called creosote. Over time, this substance builds into a thick tar that leads to many problems. First, creosote is corrosive and can damage your flue liner as it gets worse; however, the real danger is its high flammability. And it doesn’t take much creosote buildup to be an issue; just 1/8 inch is enough to cause a fire. Routine chimney sweeping and maintenance ensure this substance doesn’t build up and put your family in danger.
Many fireplace owners have had the experience of smoke billowing back down the chimney and into the house; this is called back puffing and is caused when the flue is dirty or blocked and not venting properly. While not as dangerous as carbon monoxide, inhaling smoke isn’t safe, especially if you have small children or elderly residents. Moreover, back puffing can cause soot and ash to ruin your carpets, furniture, and other furnishings. Keeping your flue free and clear ensures the smoke from the fireplace travels in the proper direction — out of the house.
How Often Should I Clean My Chimney?
Now that you know what can happen if you ignore chimney cleaning, you might wonder how often it needs it. Both the National Fire Protection Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommend annual chimney cleaning and inspection. While many homeowners wait until fall to schedule this service, you may want to do it earlier in the year, like late spring or early summer, because fall is when most chimney service companies get busy.
If your chimney or fireplace isn’t functioning properly, or you can’t remember the last time you’ve cleaned it, it’s time to call a professional and schedule an appointment.
Above & Beyond Chimney Service is a family-owned company that’s served the residents of the South Shore and the 95 Corridor for over 20 years. Our technicians are fully certified members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and undergo continuous training to stay updated on the latest technologies, techniques, and safety regulations.
Call us today to schedule an appointment at 781-383-0415 or fill out our convenient online form.