Is Your Chimney Ready for Cold Weather?
It’s that time of year when we start preparing for the holidays and look forward to enjoying all the comforts of home. One of the most beloved comforts of this season is relaxing besides a roaring fire at the end of the day. Your plan to relax beside your fireplace might be derailed if a fire catches in the chimney or your carbon monoxide alarm is set off because exhaust from the fire isn’t properly venting.
Neglecting the maintenance of your chimney can have serious health and safety consequences. That is why 4 national agencies—the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Association, the American Lung Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission—all recommend having your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year. Taking their advice to schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection is the best way to ensure your chimney is ready for a new burning season.
Why to Have Your Chimney Cleaned & Inspected this Fall
Starting a fire in your fireplace after months of not being used can be dangerous. Using your fireplace when the chimney is damaged or deteriorating can also have other risks. These are the top 3 reasons to have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected:
1. Reduce the Risk of a Fire by Cleaning Out Creosote
On average, there are more than 25,000 chimney fires every year. In most of these cases, creosote is the cause. Creosote is a highly flammable byproduct of burning wood that clings to chimney walls. It is difficult to remove without professional grade chemicals and equipment. Even small amounts can ignite. That is why it is important to have your chimney cleaned every year between burning seasons. If you use your chimney frequently, it may be wise for you to have it cleaned twice a year.
2. Decrease the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning by Having Obstructions Removed
Small critters often make their homes in chimneys during the spring and summer when the fireplace isn’t being used. Twigs and leaves can also get caught in the top of the chimney during this time. Any of these can obstruct the top of the chimney. These obstructions can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires if you use the chimney without removing them first.
Many homeowners, who don’t have their chimneys inspected at the end of the summer, aren’t aware that there is an animal nest or lawn debris clogging their chimney until they light the first fire. This is another important reason why it is smart to have your chimney cleaned in the fall.
3. Prevent Expensive Repairs by Catching Damage or Deterioration with an Inspection
Small cracks in the chimney lining or a bad chimney cap aren’t easy to spot from the ground. Small problems like these can become expensive issues if they aren’t caught quickly and fixed. A leaking chimney cap alone can cause a wide range of health and safety problems from toxic black mold to interior water damage to ceilings and walls. That is why it is beneficial to have your home’s chimney inspected by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. A professional chimney sweep is trained to look for signs of wear and tear as well as damage.
Most chimneys only require a Level 1 inspection. During this inspection, a chimney sweep will inspect the damper, flue, firebox, masonry, crown and cap to make sure they are in good shape and working properly. Many CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, like ours at Northeastern, will do a Level 1 inspection during a cleaning. If a significant issue is found, then a Level 2 or 3 inspection may be recommended to get a closer look.
The smartest step you can take to prepare your chimney for a Connecticut winter is to schedule a cleaning and inspection. Between Labor Day and Halloween is the best time to schedule an appointment with a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. It’s a good idea to set up an appointment as soon as possible since this is the busiest season for chimney sweeps.
Give us a call today to setup an appointment!