Homeowners love to buy houses with chimneys in them, even though they have no idea how to take care or how often should a chimney be cleaned. Even if they don’t use them a lot, the chimney adds a historic, elegant feel to a home that is hard to replicate.
Functional chimneys that can be used in the fall and winter months spread warmth throughout the home that creates a cozy atmosphere and can help save on energy bills.
Fireplaces are a great addition to any home. In an age when many people grow up in homes without a fireplace, a lot of folks don’t know how to properly care for or clean them. They’re uncertain about what kind of maintenance they need and how often cleaning should be done.
One of the most important components of a fireplace is the chimney. Chimneys need regular cleaning in order to work well. Providing quality care to a chimney can extend its lifespan and, perhaps more importantly, better ensure your safety in the house.
Neglect can cause fire hazards and cause it to break down more rapidly. Here are some tips on how to best care for your chimney.
How Often Should a Chimney be Cleaned – Top tips
Hire a Good Chimney Sweep
The best solution for most homeowners is to hire out for chimney cleaning. Professional chimney sweeps know how to effectively remove soot buildup and any other blockages that prevent your fireplace from functioning well.
Making sure your chimney is clear from obstructions ensures your safety and the safety of anyone else in the home. They’ll keep an eye out for creosote growth on chimney liner that can create problems later on.
Creosote is a substance that builds up on the lining of chimney walls over time. It’s highly flammable and can result in chimney fires. This is a serious hazard, especially if it happens while you’re not at home. Different types of wood create creosote buildup at various speeds.
Burring pine is widely recognized as the fastest way to create buildup. Creosote and soot buildup will also depend on how often the fireplace gets used. If your fireplace gets used very frequently it will dictate how often your chimney should be cleaned. The right chimney sweep company will be able to complete a cleaning quickly and consult you on the condition of your fireplace.
Schedule an Initial Inspection
If you’ve recently purchased a home or don’t know when the last time your chimney was cleaned, then it’s important to schedule an inspection. A chimney technician will come to your house and conduct a full-point inspection to see what shape it’s in.
They’ll be able to give you a ballpark estimate on when the last cleaning was done. It’s important not to procrastinate the chimney inspection. If there is something wrong with the chimney, delaying service will only result in more costly repairs down the road.
It can even create an unsafe environment. If you haven’t used the chimney for some time, there’s a chance that animals have nested inside, or there needs to be some masonry repair done on brickwork.
Even normal wear and tear will affect how well the chimney works when you decide to start using it again. An inspection will make sure everything is good to go before your first fire.
After the initial inspection is done, a follow up inspection should be conducted each subsequent year. Think about having the company also check out your home’s venting system while they’re there.
It’s vital that fire smoke be able to move out of the house in an efficient manner to avoid smoke poisoning. Most chimney sweep companies will recommend annual inspections during their first visit.
They’ll take care of all the follow up necessary for you, so the yearly inspection becomes part of your routine.
Chimney Cleaning Depends on Use
Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected once a year at the bare minimum. A fireplace that is used everyday can create a significant amount of creosote and soot because buildup is constant.
Soot doesn’t have any time to breakdown before more is being pushed up the chimney. Most companies recommend that a cleaning be done with there is an eighth of an inch of soot buildup on the chimney or flue walls.
If homeowners get a good amount of soot on their fingers when the run it across the bricks, then it’s the right time for a cleaning. Remember, creosote and soot buildup can trigger chimney fires that can damage the chimney and even spread to other parts of the house. The problem can be exacerbated by dirty or blocked venting systems.
The best time for a cleaning is during the spring or summer before the “burn season” when you’ll need your fireplace to warm the house. Keep in mind that most homeowners also schedule during these seasons, so it is likely chimney sweep companies will be busy.
Partnering early with a chimney service company will ensure that your chimney is ready to go for the season. Make sure you schedule early so there’s enough buffer time. However, even if you get busy and need to get it done in the fall or winter, chimney sweeps operate year-round.
Get Your Chimney Cleaned to Fires are Worry-Free
Homeowners love to use their fireplaces. The smell and sound of a crackling fire is hard to beat, especially when it’s cold outside. However, enjoying lovely fires also comes with responsibility of properly caring for the fireplace and chimney.
It’s vital that homeowners regularly check themselves for excessive buildup in their flue or chimney before they light a fire. If you notice a glaze along the flue, then it’s probably a good idea to call the chimney sweep. Regular cleaning can give peace of mind to homeowners knowing they can enjoy the fire without risking the safety of their home and the people living in it.
Make the effort to have your chimney cleaned at least ever year. Speak to the chimney sweep company about how often you use your fireplace and what sort of cleaning should be done. They’ll get you set up on a regular cleaning plan to keep your fires risk-free.