Many homeowners would love to have a fireplace. Having a fireplace, however, also means keeping the chimney clean. This is an issue of safety, and you could risk the lives of people in your home if you forget about it. Let’s review why it is so important to keep the chimney clean.
Unclean chimneys lead to back drafts of smoke. Next time you use your fireplace, check if any smoke comes back out of the chimney. If any smoke does come back out, you must ask for your chimney to be cleaned. A smoke back draft is indicative of a build up of creosote inside your chimney. It is very common for wood burning fireplaces to suddenly have decreased ventilation because of this. Another clear sign that you have to clean the chimney is when you notice a smell of smoke. If smoke enters your home, it can cause breathing problems. Also, you will notice the smell of smoke on every fabric item in your home, and everything will be covered in a layer of residue. Smoke can also occur in chimneys that have more serious problems, including poor construction. This is why you should always hire a professional inspector and cleaner, who can pick this up.
The next reason as to why you should have your chimney cleaned regularly is because it is a fire hazard not to do so. In fact, there is nothing else in your home that places such a big fire hazard, not even smoking in bed. Every time you burn a fire, creosote starts to build up in your chimney. Creosote is created by hydrocarbon remains, which are the leftovers of any solid fuel that hasn’t completely combusted. It is a highly flammable material and many home fires are caused by it every year. If you regularly clean your chimney, you don’t have to worry about your fireplace effectively becoming a death trap either.
Your chimney should be cleaned once a year as a minimum. However, if your fireplace burns wood, you may need more frequent chimney cleans. Ideally, you will have it cleaned before winter, when you start to use your chimney, and after, when you have finished using it. Only hire inspectors and cleaners that are fully licensed and certified. They should have received their license and certification through the Chimney Safety Institute of America. This credential tells you that the inspector is professional and properly trained to diagnose and repair any issues that are found. Doing all of this is important for the integrity of your chimney, and for the overall health and safety of everyone in your home.