Although cozy evenings in front of your fireplace are irresistible, you need first to ensure that it’s safe. You do this by conducting regular chimney sweeps. A chimney sweep helps remove soot, built-up creosote, and other blockages.
According to a recent report by the National Fire Protection Association, the leading cause of home heating fires was failure to clean the chimney. It takes a surprisingly small amount of creosote to cause a chimney fire. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up in the chimney due to burning wood.
7 Reasons to Sweep Your Chimney
Apart from preventing chimney fires, there are other reasons why you should sweep your chimney, including:
Removing obstructions and pests
Just like gutters, chimneys can also get clogged with debris and animal nests. Bats, birds, and squirrels like making their homes in chimneys, especially during summer and spring. If you light a fire when debris or an animal nest blocks the flue, you could spark a fire.
Keep in mind that building a big fire to burn away obstructions or smoke out the animals can be potentially dangerous and can even lead to a house fire. Instead, consider a certified chimney sweep to remove animals, debris, and nests.
Protecting your health
Whenever fuel is burned, carbon monoxide (CO) is produced. If the chimney is blocked when you start a fire, the smoke won’t escape completely. Instead, it will come back into the house and increase the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning. Even at low levels, carbon monoxide causes dizziness, headaches, confusion, nausea, and fainting.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), carbon monoxide causes thousands of deaths every year in the US alone. This is why you should have your chimney inspected and swept to ensure that the flue is clear before you can use your chimney.
Discover structural problems or hidden damage
All components of your chimney, including the bricks, mortar, flue, damper system, and crown should be in good condition to shield your house from fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, and water damage. However, chimneys are exposed to severe weather, corrosive chemicals, and high temperatures. Therefore, they are prone to deteriorate or even get damaged. Most chimney problems aren’t easy to notice until the problem worsens and becomes more expensive. Without a professional chimney sweep and the right tools, it may be difficult for you to assess the condition of your chimney.
Prolong the life cycle of your flue liner
The first line of defense of your chimney against CO poisoning and house fires is the flue liner. It insulates the chimney from high temperatures and corrosive chemicals. It also prevents carbon monoxide and sparks from slipping into your house through cracks. However, because creosote and soot trap moisture that oxidizes the liner, their buildup can deteriorate the flue liners. Conducting a professional chimney sweep every year will help preserve the flue liner.
Meet your homeowner’s insurance requirements
Are you aware that your homeowner’s insurance requires that you conduct an annual inspection and chimney sweep? While this is a common requirement, most homeowners don’t know about it until it’s too late. Your homeowner’s insurance policy won’t cover your home for damage caused by a fire if you don’t have proof that you have conducted a professional chimney sweep and inspection.
Ensure that you take a look at your homeowner’s insurance and see whether it is a requirement. If it is, ensure that you get the right documentation after conducting a chimney sweep.
Whether you want to reduce the heating costs or you’re concerned about the environment, your stove or fireplace should remain efficient. When fuel is burnt efficiently, it creates less smoke and more heat. Therefore, you can maintain a good house temperature without necessarily overloading your fireplace. Additionally, the fire will produce less harmful emissions.
Prevent soot falls
Over time, by-products of coal and burning wood will rise and cling to the inside of the chimney. The soot may continue to gather until it falls. Apart from creating a mess, the soot may build up into creosote, which is very dangerous. Creosote may cause an internal chimney fire that may burn through the walls and into your home. Additionally, creosote contains harmful chemicals that aren’t safe to breathe.
Consult a Professional
Scheduling a chimney sweep will improve your stove or fireplace efficiency. A professional chimney sweep will remove barriers that may cut or limit the oxygen supply needed for a fire to burn well. Make it a habit to schedule a yearly chimney inspection and cleaning.
A regular chimney inspection can help you identify and fix problems before they become more serious. If you are looking for an experienced and CSIA-certified chimney sweep in the greater Nashville area, visit Chimney and Masonry Outfitters today or call (615) 823-8268 to schedule your sweep.