How Important is Chimney Cleaning?
Homeowners are constantly being encouraged to perform various maintenance tasks on their home and there always seems to be an endless supply of contractors willing to do the work. With most advertisements threatening dangerous consequences for failing to be prepared, many consumers are worried and struggling to decipher which services are necessary and which ones can be considered elective. While many people do need to be more aware of the preventive upkeep that their home requires, the majority of tasks are not urgent and can be completed within a reasonable amount of time. Chimney cleaning is often a misunderstood process and too many homeowners categorize it as a job that can be done every once in awhile. Before delaying any longer, a consumer needs to realize why chimney cleaning is important and what could happen if it is not taken care of in a timely fashion.
Any chimney that is used on a regular basis or has ever been used more than likely has some build up that has accrued inside. Burning logs release gases and can cause carbon or creosote deposits to accumulate on the walls of a chimney, and the results can be disastrous. Chimney fires that are started by these circumstances often lead to house fires and failing to keep a chimney free and clear of debris can be the culprit. Most homeowners believe that a chimney is fireproof and that a chimney fire may just cause an odor issue, but the unfortunate truth is that the flames often spread along the top into the rafters and roof and can quickly burn the entire home to the ground.
The most effective way to prevent chimney fires is to have regular maintenance and cleaning performed by a qualified professional. In addition, there are many products currently available on the market that are designed to help reduce the amount of build-up. It is important to note, however, that these products clearly state that they are not acceptable substitutes for the quality of service a trained professional can deliver. Many homeowners are not sure how frequently they need to have their chimney cleaned, and there is no simple answer. Some individuals obviously use their chimneys more than others, and these consumers will require more care. The type of wood that is burned also plays a significant role in properly caring for a chimney due to the fact that some don’t burn as cleanly as others. In fact, burning pine is one of the leading causes of chimney fires and should be avoided if at all possible. In general, a homeowner should have their chimney cleaned and inspected before and after every cold weather season.
While the fact that chimney cleaning can help prevent house fires is often enough to encourage homeowners, there are actually other benefits as well. Chimneys that have an excessive amount of build-up inside are much more likely to create odors that can spread throughout the entire house. Smoke can also be an unwanted side effect of a dirty chimney and can be incredibly difficult to get out of upholstery and other fabric. Smoke damage doesn’t occur just during house fires and many insurance claims are actually derived from problems with the chimney. In addition to avoiding smoke and smell issues, a clean chimney will actually help provide a better fire because of better oxygen paths outside.
A common misconception is that natural gas fireplaces do not require any type of routine chimney cleaning. The actual fact of the matter is that any type of fire is going to cause some build-up and wear on the interior. An important part of a professional chimney sweep’s job is to inspect the surfaces and ensure that no problem areas exist. Chimney cleaning also entails polishing the visible surfaces of the fireplace and has cosmetic advantages too.
Many of the services that are offered to homeowners may not in fact be of dire importance, but chimney cleaning is actually one of the tasks that must be kept up with to avoid any potential trouble in the future. If a homeowner has any doubt about their chimney, it is always better to be safe than sorry and a qualified professional is always willing to provide advice when needed.