Chimney Inspection Benefits: Enjoy Your Fireplace Safely this Holiday Season
Your fireplace and chimney are built to provide years of comfort and enjoyment during the winter. And with the holidays fast approaching, there is no more festive way than sharing the warmth of your hearth and spreading holiday cheer with family and friends in front of the fireplace. But before you light the first fire of the season, consider these important benefits of a chimney inspection:
Reduce fire hazards
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a chimney inspection is reducing the most common fire hazard which is the accumulation of creosote in the flue. This black flammable substance is a natural by-product of the wood burning process and can get very thick inside the walls of the chimney. It continues to build, layer upon layer each time you light the fireplace. If the chimney is not regularly cleaned by a professional chimney sweep, the creosote can be easily ignited by burning embers that can engulf the entire chimney in flames.
Get rid of unwanted visitors
Before you light the fireplace this holiday season, you will want to get rid of unwanted visitors first. Birds and small animals have been known to take refuge and cause an obstruction inside the chimney, especially during the warmer months when the fireplace is not being used. These pesky critters can cause damage and other maintenance issues to the cap, crown, and masonry, for example. Even worse, this obstruction blocks the escape of dangerous fumes and smoke which can lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.
Maintain structural integrity
Another important benefit is protecting the integrity of your chimney. Just like any other type of heating appliance, proper care and maintenance of your chimney and fireplace is essential. Frequent usage, weather, environmental conditions and even periods of inactivity can cause excessive wear and tear that can eventually lead to a structural collapse. During the inspection, a certified chimney sweep will carefully examine the entire chimney from the cap to the foundation looking for cracks, damages and other issues that could weaken the structure.
Avoid surprise repair bills
When it comes to home repairs, nobody likes surprises. But that’s exactly what could happen without an annual chimney inspection. Even if you recently used your fireplace and chimney without a problem or don’t notice any obvious structural or maintenance issues on the outside, doesn’t mean a safety problem doesn’t exist. Unless you have the training, expertise, and the right tools and equipment, it’s difficult to spot small problems that can cause major safety issues. That’s why the National Chimney Sweep Guild recommends all fireplace owners have an annual chimney inspection. Discovering and repairing chimney problems as soon as they begin to develop will save a lot of time, money and aggravation later.