Chimney maintenance is a household chore that is often overlooked because it is not a visible issue. However, without regular cleaning and maintenance, your chimney can become a danger to your home and your health.
Depending on what type of fuel you burn you will encounter different issues, all of which can be extremely harmful to you. For instance, wood burning stoves often cause large build ups of creosote, a highly flammable substance. If too much of this is deposited inside your flue you will be at risk of a chimney fire which could spread throughout your property.
This is just one of the many dangers you may face with poor chimney maintenance. If you have a chimney and you are concerned about its performance then read on to learn more about how to properly maintain it.
When does my chimney need inspecting?
Most chimney specialists would recommend that you have your chimney inspected once a year. However, if you feel that your chimney is not working efficiently or has any visible damage you should not wait for a year to pass before scheduling an inspection. By waiting you are putting both yourself and your property in danger and it may lead to a bigger problem that will result in a much higher cost or the complete loss of your property.
If you have not used your fireplace in a long time you may also want to get it checked for any debris or pests that may be lodged in your flue. Equally the colder months will have also taken their toll on your chimney especially the masonry meaning that there may be loose elements and liner materials that have rusted. Any deterioration of this kind means that you will have to have your chimney inspected before using your stove again. The best option is to stay on top of regular inspection to ensure that when you want to use your chimney, it is available.
How often does my chimney need cleaning?
This question ultimately depends on how often you use your fireplace throughout the year. Most people assume that if it has not been used then it is in perfect condition as it is not had any wear or tear. However, the reality is that birds and other animals may now be using your chimney as a nest because it is cool, dry and is not being used for anything else. Even if the animal is now gone debris will remain and this will need clearing out.
Equally, if you often use your fireplace then you may be causing a build-up of creosote on the inside of the chimney flue. It is recommended that you regularly measure the build-up of this material as anything past 1/8 of an inch will need clearing immediately. If not you are putting your property at risk of a chimney fire.
What is the best time of year to clean my chimney?
Most specialists would recommend that during the end of the summer and towards the autumn months are the best time to have your chimney inspected and cleaned. This ensures that your chimney is in working conditions for when it starts to get cooler. Waiting until the winter is a classic mistake most homeowners make as depending on where you live it can make it a much more difficult job.
What about qualifications? Are they important?
Yes, of course. Like many things in life, you need to get a professional to ensure a professional job is done. We are proud members of the Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps and more details about their work can be found on their website.
How do I get my chimney cleaned?