As you keep burning wood, a material called Creosote starts building up inside the chimney liner due to burning wood. It is a highly flammable material that can catch fire easily. This can build up inside the chimney at a very high rate if you do not follow good wood burning practices or if the stove is not working properly.
Also, the accumulation rate of this material depends on the type of wood used for burning, as different types of wood tend to produce different amounts of this material. For instance, burning pine can lead to a quick buildup of this material inside the chimney and therefore, it should be avoided on a regular basis. This material not only causes fires but it also reduces the efficiency and draw of your fireplace.
Chimney cleaning is needed to remove any kind of blockages and the creosote that has buildup inside the chimney, firebox, damper, smoke chamber and other places. This will ensure that your fireplace keeps working at the highest efficiency and there is no danger of fire.
Annual Chimney Inspections Are a Must
Annual chimney inspection is recommended to all homeowners to ensure that all the systems keep working efficiently and there are no blockages and no other dangers. It has been seen that most of the homeowners do understand the importance of annual chimney cleaning and this is especially true if they use the fireplace on regular basis.
It is also recommended to clean all the other venting systems that are connected to stoves and heating systems to ensure complete safety. One should never neglect any furnace, stove, fireplace or heating appliance to ensure that there are no fire hazards. It is important to keep in mind that even a small defect can quickly turn into a very expensive repair or even a big chimney fire.
Even if you’ve used your fireplace minimally, it is still advised to have the stove systems, furnace and all the heating vent systems inspected on an annual basis. The cleaning professionals will take care of any issues or defects they come across during the inspection.
If you use a regular chimney cleaning company, they are going to automatically put you on an inspection schedule on an annual basis. The professionals will inform you if the chimney needs cleaning.
When is Chimney Inspection Needed?
You need to get your chimney inspected in the following scenarios:
– If the chimney has not been inspected during the past 12 months or more.
– If you feel that your fireplace, heating system or chimney is not working efficiently and is burning more fuel.
– If you have recently moved into a new home and are not aware of the status of chimney.
You should not wait as it usually means additional repair and in some unfortunate cases, loss of property due to fire. It is estimated that homeowners in US lose over $200 million due to use of unsafe systems.
You should also get the chimney or the venting system inspected whenever you make some change to your heating system or add an insert to the stove. This inspection will ensure that venting system, lining as well as chimney are working the way they should.
Pest buildup is quite likely if you have not been using your fireplace regularly. It usually happens in the liner. Also, moisture and extreme cold during the winter months take their toll on the liner material and masonry. The chimney condition will deteriorate over several years. Many people are not aware of the fact that such normal wear and tear also affects the efficiency of the system.
Also, if defects are not repaired immediately, the repairs may become very costly. In other words, you need to stay on top of the systems to ensure that these operate in safe and smart manner and do not end up costing you too much money.
How Often Should the Chimney Be Cleaned?
As far as the frequency of cleaning is concerned, it depends a lot on the usage of the fireplace. The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual inspection for soundness check, deposits build up and cleaning and repairs, if needed. You should also keep in mind that squirrels, birds and other similar critters can also make a chimney unsafe to use. It means that your chimney is at risk even if you have not been using it regularly.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends cleaning up fire places if there is a soot buildup of 0.125 inches thickness inside the flue system and the chimney. Also, if one can see any glaze inside the flue, it should be immediately cleaned even if it’s thickness is less than 0.125 inches. In simple words, chimney cleaning should be done whenever there is enough accumulation of creosote and soot that can lead to a chimney fire. Also, the furnace flue systems need to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Great amount of creosote and soot is produced during cleaning in some fireplaces that are heavily used. We have recently managed to remove 10 gallon of this material from a single chimney. It is extremely important to remove this material to reduce the risk of any chimney fire.
Right Time for Cleaning Chimney
The ideal time to get your chimney cleaned is during the summer or early fall. It is recommended to get it inspected before you begin building a fire in the furnace due to a change in the weather. Maybe cleaning the chimney did not cross your mind when you started using the fireplace.
You should not wait until the next year for chimney cleaning and inspection services all year long. You can give us a call at (973) 922-0195.
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