The Importance of Chimney Cleaning
When you light the fireplace or heating stove, smoke, soot and contaminants vent through a narrow flue pipe. It leaves a residue that stains the interior masonry walls, flue liner, fire shelf, damper, and other components. In addition to leaves, twigs, and debris, small animals and pests can get trapped inside. And moisture from humidity changes can also cause mold, mildew, and bacteria to grow. So, you can imagine the interior of a chimney can get extremely dirty and smelly. Maintaining a clean chimney is vital to reducing fire hazards, improving heating efficiency, and prolonging the life of your chimney.
Increase Fire Safety
An unclean chimney is a fire hazard. According to the latest Consumer Products Safety Commission report, chimney fires represent the second-largest share of all residential fires. More than 60,000 fires occurred resulting in over 200 deaths during the 2013-2016 report period. Most residential fires that start in the chimney, fireplace, or chimney connector are a result of excessive creosote.
Creosote is a natural by-product of combustion. This gummy substance is produced by the partial burning of solid fuel like wood. And it increases as you continue lighting your fireplace. Smoke carries it to the upper chamber of the chimney where it mixes with moisture, solidifies and sticks to the inner walls. The major problem with creosote is that excessive accumulation is highly flammable.
Remove Flue Obstructions
The uppermost section of the chimney is the chimney crown. And if the crown does not have a sturdy chimney cap, leaves, twigs, and dirt from nearby trees can blow in the flue. It also allows small animals and rodents to take cover where they often get trapped unable to escape. The obstruction prevents the ventilation of harmful gases that can increase the risk of carbon monoxide. Also, the humidity and moisture, along with the decomposition of the organic matter, release foul odors that can permeate into your living space. Annual chimney cleaning by a qualified chimney sweep will clear any flue obstructions. It will increase the safety of your indoor air quality and improve the efficiency of your fireplace and wood stove.
Prolong the Life of Your Chimney
Professional chimney cleaning prolongs the life of your chimney. The chimney sweep scrubs the flue liner and the interior walls to remove creosote and other stains from the masonry. Other vital components like the damper and smoke shelf are also crucial to clean to help prevent their premature replacement due to rust. When the damper is not well-maintained rust and corrosion can prevent it from forming an airtight seal when it is closed. An airtight seal is necessary to avoid backdrafts and energy loss when the fireplace is not in use.
These are some of the many reasons why hiring a qualified chimney sweep at least once a year is essential. Not only will it save money by increasing energy efficiency, but it will also keep you and your family safe.