Why you should get a chimney sweep every year
A chimney sweep is a common task that involves cleaning the inside of your chimney. Each time you light a fire in your fireplace, soot and creosote build up. Even when you’re not using your fireplace, it’s possible for debris to accumulate or an animal to build a nest. A professional chimney sweep will be able to take care of the problems for you. Some homeowners in the Washington DC Area make the mistake of not hiring a chimney sweep every year. Failure to hire a chimney sweep can have dire consequences. In some cases, not getting your chimney cleaned can lead to chimney repairs that cost more than they would have if the problems were discovered sooner. In other cases, it can lead to chimney fires. Every home with a chimney should have their chimney cleaned every year.
Learn About Chimney Problems Early OnNo matter how involved you are in the care of your home, problems eventually occur. It’s up to you to catch them early before they become more problematic. When chimney and fireplace problems continue over an extended period, the cost of chimney repairs can increase exponentially.
There are all sorts of problems that a professional chimney sweep can catch during their cleaning:
- Improper air flow
- Cracks in the chimney
- Excessive soot build-up
- Creosote build-up
- Cracks in the flue
Are animals living in your chimney?Your chimney is an entrance into your home. Throughout the warmer months, all sorts of critters might choose to enter your stack and stay there. These could be anything from spiders to squirrels to birds. If you don’t know they’re up there, you could quickly start a fire in the fireplace and suddenly find that they are scurrying out – and right into your home. This could be disastrous, and near impossible to get under control. You certainly don’t want this happening when you have a house filled with company. You don’t want to set animals on fire, for obvious reasons. If you have a chimney sweep come out, they can clear out any pests the proper way. They can also show you some of the different ways to prevent the pests from entering in the future.
Prevent Creosote BuildupCreosote is the byproduct that comes from burning wood and other fuel in your chimney – and it can be dangerous. Your goal is for wood to burn as completely as possible. If there isn’t sufficient airflow, there is incomplete combustion. Volatiles form that rise with the smoke. Once the smoke cools, the residue left behind is known as creosote. Creosote is highly flammable. Over time, creosote can obstruct the airflow and ultimately cause chimney fires. Preventing creosote buildup is a significant reason to have an annual chimney sweep performed. There are three stages of creosote: flaky deposit, tar-like deposits, and hardened creosote. In the first stage, it’s easy to brush away the creosote. Things become more problematic when it creosote reaches stage two and three. A chimney sweep will take care of all of the buildups. If you let the creosote buildup past the first stage, it becomes tar-like and eventually hardens, causing significant problems. Below are some of the issues that can be caused by creosote:
- Toxicity in the air (causing irritated eyes and skin)
- Reduces air flow
- Can cause cancer
- Creates a fire hazard
Chimney Sweeps Prevent Chimney FiresThe reality is that a chimney fire can happen. Often, it is because of a dirty chimney, which means that this is preventable. If you have ever seen the damage that can be caused by a chimney fire, you will want to stay clear of having such a thing happen in your own home. There are several signs of a chimney fire:
- Hot, intense smell
- Lots of dense smoke
- Popping and cracking noises