A roaring fire is a part of the holiday traditions for many families. But in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, fireplace maintenance can often be put off or forgotten entirely.Homeowners should schedule an annual chimney sweep and inspection now to ensure that their fireplaces are in excellent condition and will not have any issues arise during the holidays.
How often should my chimney be swept?
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, chimneys should be swept any time there is an excessive soot buildup or at minimum once per year. The CSIA also recommended that chimney structures should “be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.” Having an annual chimney sweep prevents any excessive buildup of soot, ash, and creosote. It also ensures that your chimney and fireplace have not deteriorated or been damaged enough to warrant repairs.
What is done during a chimney sweep?
The primary purpose of an annual chimney sweep is to remove any buildup of creosote. Creosote is a highly flammable, foul smelling, and gummy byproduct of wood burning fires. It coats the inside of the chimney structure and is one of the leading causes of chimney fire. In addition to removing any creosote deposits, a certified chimney sweep will also remove any ash, soot, blockages, and debris in the chimney structure.
A chimney inspection is also performed during an annual chimney sweeping. If your chimney and fireplaces work well and have not been damaged since their last inspection, a Level I inspection will be performed. During a Level I inspection, a certified technician will inspect all accessible components of the chimney both inside and outside the home. This includes checking the firebox, chimney structure, joints, and connections for any signs of damage or deterioration.
If there have been problems with or damage to the chimney or fireplace, a more in depth Level II or Level III inspection may be performed. Likewise, if any signs of damage are discovered, the technician can recommend any necessary repairs or a more comprehensive level of inspection.
Why is an annual chimney sweep important?
Chimneys should always be swept and inspected before their heaviest use period, which often coincides with the holiday season. “A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” says Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the CSIA. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.”
While an annual chimney sweep may seem like an unnecessary waste of both time and money for fireplace that work well, preventative maintenance can identify small issues such as cracks or damage to the bricks or mortar. This damage may start out small, but it will continue to worsen over time. This can result in serious structural damage and costly chimney repairs.
Instead, having problems fixed when they are still relatively minor can save a significant amount of money in the long run as well as protect the overall health of your chimney system. Regularly swept and inspected chimneys often have longer lifespans than those that are not regularly maintained.
Getting your chimney inspected before its heavy use period begins ensures that your family can safely enjoy warm fires throughout the holiday season. If you would like to schedule an annual chimney sweep and inspection before the holidays arrive, contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney today!