Yes, Chimney Inspection and Cleaning is Needed After a Mild Winter
Frugal homeowners often wonder if a chimney inspection and cleaning is needed after a mild winter. Experts say yes and for good reason. Chimneys get dirty even in mild winters but perhaps for different reasons. A frigid winter means more use, but the fires are typically much hotter, resulting in more complete combustion. In mild winters, fires may be smaller and might smolder longer, situations which produce more creosote than a scorching blaze. A buildup of creosote is dangerous because it can result in a chimney fire. There are other potential chimney problems that occur even in mild winters, and taking care of them sooner rather than later can save on costs of repair.
Creosote buildup in mild winter weather
Creosote is a highly flammable tar-like combustion by-product deposited in chimneys when wood-fueled fires are burned in wood stoves and fireplaces. Burning green wood and using materials like cardboard in the fireplace further increases the amount of creosote deposited in a chimney. Even if a smaller amount of creosote actually is left in your chimney after a mild winter, skipping an annual cleaning can mean that in the middle of the following winter, dangerous levels of creosote can lead to a chimney fire.
Creosote doesn’t remain in its original state, when left inside the chimney season after season. During humid summers, creosote deposits change into a form that not only increases the likelihood of a chimney fire but also makes them more persistent and dangerous.
Reduce the threat of chimney fires after mild winters
Chimney fires are all too frequent in the U.S., with thousands occurring each year. The most common cause of a chimney fire is a dirty chimney, and obstructions in the chimney are also very dangerous threats. Experts say that the temperature inside of a chimney can reach more than 2000 degrees as a result of a chimney fire. This amount of heat easily damages chimney liners and starts house fires.
Homeowners unfamiliar with chimney fires have oftentimes been unaware when they occur. Clues that a fire is blazing inside your chimney include a rumbling sound like low-flying aircraft or a nearby train, dense smoke, an intensely hot odor, and flames shooting out of the top of the chimney.
Avoiding a chimney fire is a serious safety issue. Schedule a chimney inspection after a mild winter or a freezing one and gain peace of mind that the chances of a chimney fire are greatly reduced.
Chimney damage during mild winters
Chimneys are vulnerable to many types of potential damage during mild winters, especially on the exterior. The chimney system is most often breached by moisture issues that can lead to the need for expensive repairs. Our professional chimney technicians check the following components of the chimney, all of which are more vulnerable to moisture damage when not in a good state of repair:
- Chimney liner
- Chimney flashing
- Chimney crown
- Masonry and masonry mortar
- Chimney flashing
During an inspection, the chimney is also checked for possible obstructions. When there isn’t a chimney cap with mesh on a chimney, it is not unusual for critters to get inside. They often get stuck inside, creating even more possible problems.
One of the most unpleasant issues with animals is when they die in the chimney, creating a horrendous stench. Other types of obstructions include debris, perhaps following storms, and bits of chimney lining, if the flue is in a state of deterioration.
A chimney cleaning also prevents a stench coming from the fireplace in summertime. Preventing your family from breathing in the toxic substances inside a chimney is another benefit of cleaning your chimney after a mild winter. Since more than two centuries ago, chimney sweeps over-exposed to such substances have suffered terrible health consequences.
For the sake of safety and to potentially cut needed chimney repair costs, even the most frugal of homeowners should schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning after mild winters.