Old jeans? Check. Long broom? Check. That ugly shirt your mother-in-law gave you for your last birthday? Check. So you’re all set to clean out that chimney before winter, right?
Maybe not so fast.
Many people think that cleaning a chimney is as easy as rolling up their sleeves, climbing in and being willing to get a little bit dirty. But the reality is that you’re nearly always better leaving this job to professional hands.
Why? Because cleaning out a chimney requires the right tools in the hands of experts who know how to use them.
Cleaning now to prevent dangers later
The most common reason for keeping your chimney clean is to get rid of creosote build-up. Creosote is essentially a dangerous chemical formation in your chimney caused by burning wood or other fossil fuels and, according to DoctorFlue.com, it comes in three stages: a flakey deposit that you can easily clean off with a brush, a tar-like deposit that needs special tools to remove, and finally (at the worst stage), a hardened substance that is very difficult to move and can drip “like candle wax when it reaches a high enough temperature.”
If you are trying to clean the chimney by yourself, you may get most of the creosote cleared out the first time around. However, the remainder will slowly harden throughout the year and in the years to come. Plus, each year that you’re only removing most of the creosote means larger buildups in the future and, consequently, a higher risk of becoming one of the 25,000 chimney-related house fires in the U.S. each year.
How can you be sure to avoid this risk?
Having the right tools for the job
As we just noted, the first stage of creosote forming in your chimney is easy to brush away. However, as time goes on, the job gets more tedious and requires the use of specialized equipment. While you can buy these tools at your local hardware store or online, you will still go through a learning curve as you figure out how to use them. Even then, cleaning your chimney out one time per year will not provide you with the experience you need to adequately do the job each time. What’s worse is that many homeowners invest in cheap solutions (such as Creosote Sweeping Logs) which can prove, in the long run, more costly—not to mention infinitely more dangerous.
On the other hand, when you hire a professional, you have the added knowledge that they will have the proper tools to get the job done faster and better than if you attempted yourself. Plus, they will have the kind of mastery in using these tools that only comes from years of experience.
If you’re located in Nashville, contact Chimney & Masonry Outfitters today to schedule your appointment and learn how one of our expertly trained professionals can keep your house and family safe all winter long!