If you own a wood-burning fireplace, regular maintenance and cleaning should be among your top concerns. A nice fire can be relaxing and it can be a nice way to heat the room, but when the chimney is poorly maintained, this practice can be a real hazard. Hiring a chimney sweep once a year is a good step toward protecting your home and making sure that your chimney and fireplace are safe.
The National Fire Protection Agency recommends that you have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year. This goes for people that use their chimney regularly and those that only use it a few times a year. Even if you do not use it regularly, a blockage could have formed or an animal could have tried nesting in the chimney. The annual cleaning and inspection ensures that the chimney is clean, safe for use and that all of the components are in proper working condition.
The biggest risk that you are preventing by getting the chimney cleaned once a year is the potential for a chimney fire. When you burn wood, creosote builds up on the inside of the chimney. Creosote is flammable, and when enough of it has built up in the chimney, it can be a risk for fire. These fires burn at extreme temperatures and they can easily spread to the rest of the house. However, an annual cleaning can help to prevent this possibility.
Another hazard that can come with a lack of cleaning and maintenance is carbon monoxide poisoning. This is a particularly dangerous condition because carbon monoxide is an odorless gas, and the symptoms mimic that of many common ailments. If the chimney is blocked or poorly maintained, the carbon monoxide gas can seep into the home. Every year, thousands of people die from carbon monoxide poisoning and a poorly maintained chimney is just one of the ways that this can occur.
It is also important to note that this can be a risk whether you use your chimney frequently or not. When a chimney is inactive for a long period of time, it can become an inviting place for nesting animals. The nest can block the flow of escaping gases and this can cause dangerous fumes to back up into the house. Additionally, chimney components and the structure may need repairs over time. A chimney is essentially a ventilation system for your fireplace, and when it is not working as it should, it can be a hazard to the people in the home.
Though it is less of a hazard to the health and safety of the people in the home, another potential problem is smoke damage. When a chimney is blocked, the smoke may not flow out as easily as it should. This will cause some of the smoke to come out through the fireplace. Over time, this will lead to a sooty build up around the hearth and it can leave deposits on walls and furniture. Along with protecting your safety, an annual cleaning and inspection can protect the value of your property.
To guard against fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and property damage, a yearly professional inspection and cleaning is a small price to pay. Most chimney fires are the result of poor cleaning and maintenance practices, and you can avoid all of this by taking this yearly step.
When you talk about chimney cleaning, the rule is that you should have it done at least once a year, but some homes may need have a cleaning twice a year. Depending on the frequency with which you use the chimney, your burning practices and the types of wood you burn, creosote can build up at different rates.
Boston Brick & Stone is a company that not only builds, repairs and restores chimneys – we also provide cleaning and inspection services in the Los Angeles area. When you hire us for your chimney cleaning and inspection, you are getting a professional service that works to the highest standards in the industry. Contact our office to schedule an appointment for all of your chimney cleaning, maintenance and repair needs.
"The National Fire Protection Agency recommends that you have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year."