Vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping the floors; scrubbing the toilets, sinks, and showers; dusting, polishing, and wiping down surfaces; no matter how many items are on your list of housekeeping chores and how diligently you keep up on them all, there’s one item that you probably overlook and in fact, that might not even make it to the list at all: cleaning the chimney. When you’re cuddled up in front of a roaring fire, soot, ash, and creosote are likely the furthest thing from your mind. That’s a big mistake, however, because as those substances accumulate in your chimney, your fires will be affected but more importantly, those substances can put you and your loved ones in serious danger.
Why is cleaning your chimney so important? How often should it be cleaned? To find the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading.
Why Cleaning Your Chimney is Important
Fires produce several byproducts, including soot, ash, and creosote. Each time you light a fire, those byproducts accumulate inside your chimney, and they can cause serious problems. They can impede your chimney’s ability to efficiently exhaust smoke and excess heat out of your house. Likewise, the buildup of debris can limit the amount of oxygen that flows down the chimney, and because fires need oxygen, they won’t burn as powerfully, and the amount of warmth they produce will be reduced.
While the above-mentioned issues are certainly problematic, there’s an even bigger and more troubling problem that can arise when your chimney is coated with built-up soot, ash, and creosote: the risk of a chimney fire can increase. The byproducts of combustion are highly flammable and all it takes is a single spark for your chimney – and potentially your entire house – to go up in flames.
To ensure your fires burn efficiently and more importantly, to maintain the safety of yourself and your loved ones, cleaning your chimney is an absolute must.
How Often a Chimney Should be Cleaned
There’s no hard and fast rule of thumb for how often you should clean your chimney, as chimneys vary, as does how often they’re used. With that said, however, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney once a year, at least. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) backs this recommendation. Whether you use your chimney only a few times a year or hardly ever, having your chimney cleaned annually is still recommended; however, if you use your fireplace on a regular basis, you should have it cleaned more frequently.
When to Clean Your Chimney
Right before the cold season arrives is the ideal time to have your chimney cleaned. Having the structure cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional chimney sweep in the early fall will ensure that it’s in good condition and safe to use for the upcoming winter. If you use your fireplace regularly, however, in addition to having your chimney cleaned before the cold weather arrives, you should consider having it cleaned again when the warm weather arrives, after you’ve finished using it for the season.
Signs You Should Have Your Chimney Cleaned
No matter how often you use it, there are times when you may need to have the structure cleaned in between routine maintenance. The following are telltale signs that you should contact a chimney cleaning professional:
· You notice a campfire smell, such as burned wood, coming out of the fireplace, even when it isn’t in use.
· Smoke pours back into the room, even though the flue is opened.
· Fires are burning strangely; it doesn’t burn as powerfully, it goes out quickly, or you have a hard time getting them to light at all.
· Black, oily reside on the damper, the chimney walls, and in the firebox are signs of creosote buildup.
· You hear strange sounds, such as knocking, banging, scratching, or any other unusual noises, as they could be a sign of nesting animals.
Schedule a Chimney Cleaning Today!
Whether you’re due for a routine cleaning and inspection or you’re experiencing one of the above-mentioned signs, if you’re in need of chimney cleaning services, contact Apex Air Duct Cleaning PA. When our certified technicians are on the job, you can feel confident knowing that your safety and comfort will be fully restored.