If you rely on your fireplace to keep you warm in the winter, then keeping the chimney clean is essential. A dirty fireplace and chimney increase the risk of a home fire. Here's how to tell when your chimney needs to be cleaned and how a chimney cleaning service does the job.
A Chimney Needs Checked At Least Annually
As a general practice, you should have your chimney inspected at least once a year right before cold weather sets in. However, you might need to clean the chimney more often than that. The type of wood you burn makes a difference in how fast the creosote builds up, and the more you use your fireplace, the more creosote you create.
You Can Monitor The Creosote Level
If you use your fireplace daily in the winter, then it's a good idea to monitor how much creosote is building up. You can do that by using the fireplace poker to scratch a brick in the lower part of the chimney. If you don't see much of a scratch or black coating, then your fireplace doesn't need to be cleaned out yet.
If you can see a scratch, the deeper the scratch, the more urgent the need for cleaning your fireplace. When your fireplace needs to be cleaned, you might also detect a foul odor when you build a fire, notice smoke, or see excessive soot in the fireplace.
A Chimney Cleaning Service Eliminates Creosote
When you schedule a visit from a chimney cleaning service, they will check your chimney for proper functioning and look for debris and damaged areas in the chimney. They'll make repairs if needed, but at the least, they'll scrape the creosote off the sides of the chimney and remove soot.
A chimney cleaning service has the equipment to do the job properly, so it's worth the expense rather than trying to clean out your chimney yourself. Plus, they take steps to control soot and odors so you don't have to worry about soot spreading through your house.
It's important to schedule a cleaning when it's needed because creosote changes the longer it's on the chimney walls. The longer it's there, the harder it is to remove. Plus, when creosote builds up, it becomes a fire hazard. As long as the creosote isn't too thick, chimney cleaning doesn't take very long and it isn't overly disruptive to your home or routine.
A chimney cleaning service can recommend a schedule for cleaning based on how long your heating season is and how much you use your fireplace. Even if you only use the fireplace occasionally, it still needs to be cleaned regularly. When you use your fireplace daily and depend on it to keep you warm, maintaining your fireplace properly is even more important.