Fall means cooler weather is approaching quickly and your fireplace will be in high demand once again. Make sure it is ready by getting your chimney swept before Fall arrives. Chimneys should be swept at least once a year, or about every 80 fires, and before cool weather arrives is a perfect time to take care of it. Keeping a clean chimney is critical to the safety of your home and loved ones.
Sweeping to Safety
Getting your chimney swept is more important than just maintaining a clean chimney, it is a safety concern as well. Many byproducts of burning wood such as soot and creosote buildup inside the chimney. Creosote is a very dangerous substance that is highly flammable. Neglecting to get your chimney swept can open you up to all sorts of dangers caused by creosote. It can spark and ignite nearby trees, bushes, or flammable roofing materials, causing major damage to you and your home. There are other dangers besides creosote that a sweep will take care of. Many times animals such as birds, raccoons, squirrels, and bats will make their homes inside chimneys. These animals can block or clog your chimney and prevent proper ventilation. If these obstructions are not removed, they can make your fireplace unsafe for use. A certified chimney professional will clear away creosote along with any other blockages.
Sweep As Needed
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (C.S.I.A) recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be swept at 1/8″ of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system. This is considered to be enough fuel buildup to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home. The more you use your fireplace the quicker you will develop creosote buildup, but this is not the only factor. Burning different types of wood produce creosote faster than others. For example, pine causes a rapid buildup of creosote while a hardwood, such as oak, will lead to less buildup. Is is suggested that you only burn seasoned (dry) wood in your fireplace to prevent excessive buildup. However, buildup will occur so you will need to have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis according to the guidelines above.
Knowing When to Sweep
The most general guidelines suggest once a year, but you need to inspect your chimney often to make sure you don’t need any cleanings in between. Creosote varies in the way that it looks, which can make it difficult to recognize. It can range from puffy to hard, matte to glazed, and ranges in color from brown to black. However, once you recognize its appearance it will be easy to spot with a flashlight. Problems with ventilation is another sign your chimney needs sweeping. If you notice smoke flooding the room or soot getting on the furniture then you will need to call a professional to come sweep.
Once Fall arrives, appointment times fill up quickly as people begin thinking of cold weather arriving. If you schedule your appointment during the Fall rush, you will probably have to wait longer than normal for a chimney sweep to come to your house. Also, cold nights become more common during the Fall, and you may find yourself wishing you could use your fireplace but can’t because of the dangerous of an unswept chimney. Beat the rush and the cold by scheduling your appointment before Fall gets here. Call one of our certified team members to set up your appointment.