5 Reasons to Clean and Inspect your Chimney Before Winter
The temperature has dropped quickly here in the tri-state area where Southwestern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Eastern Iowa meet. On chilly, dreary days like these, there is nothing better than a roaring fire to drive away the cold. It might too soon to light up your hearth if you haven’t had your home’s chimney cleaned and inspected yet this year.
Fireplaces continue to be a leading cause of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year because it is the best way to protect your health and your home.
Here are the top 5 reasons to invest in a chimney cleaning and inspection this season:
1. Reduce the Risk of a House Fire & Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Both gas fireplaces and wood burning fireplaces should be professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year to prevent a fire and carbon monoxide.
Faulty fireplace components are the leading cause of house fires caused by gas fireplaces. That is why it is important to have your gas fireplace inspected by a NFI-certified technician who will make sure that there are no holes in the gas line or other issues that could cause an explosive fire or carbon monoxide exposure.
Even though gas fireplaces don’t produce creosote (a flammable combustion byproduct), there could still be an obstruction in your chimney that poses a safety risk. Lawn debris (like sticks and leaves), animal nests and dead animals can all get logged in the chimney. All of these fire risks will be removed during the cleaning.
Creosote is the leading cause of house fires caused by wood burning fireplaces. Even a small amount of creosote can do a lot of damage. This chemical compound can burn at extremely hot temperatures for long periods of time. It can cause serious structural damage to your home even if the fire stays in the chimney. A large chimney fire can spread and bring down your whole home.
DIY chimney cleaning methods can be dangerous and are rarely effective. Hiring a NFI-professional chimney sweep is the best way to have all of last year’s creosote buildup removed. In the process, they will also remove any obstructions that could be a fire hazard.
2. Get Rid of Chimney Pests
If your chimney doesn’t have a cap on it, it’s very likely that a critter has gotten inside. Animals—from birds and bats to raccoons and squirrels—love to make nests in chimneys. These critters can bring other pests with them like lice or diseases. Bats are especially prone to carry diseases that humans can contract from handling them. NFI-certified chimney sweeps have experience removing chimney pests. They can also let you know what size and shape of chimney cap you can order and have installed to prevent pests from getting into your chimney in the future.
3. Increase the Lifespan of Your Fireplace & Prevent Expensive Repairs
Chimneys endure a lot of wear and tear. The harsh chemicals and high temperatures of the fire can begin to breakdown the inside of the chimney. Fast winds and heavy precipitations batter the outside of the chimney. It’s important to have an annual inspection to make sure no serious damage has occurred during the year. Also, to let you know if there are small maintenance issues that you can take care of now to prevent future problems.
Keeping up on regular maintenance—like repairing a damaged chimney cap, reapplying waterproofing to the masonry or installing a new chimney liner —helps your chimney to last longer. Neglecting these smaller things can lead to expensive repair costs in the future or the inability to use your fireplace.
4. Improve Fireplace Efficiency
Fireplaces burn better when the chimney is clear of obstructions and creosote build up. More oxygen is able flow into the firebox and feed the fire when there aren’t obstructions in the chimney. An efficient fire is ideal because it produces more heat with less fuel which means you won’t have to run out to the woodpile as often. Efficient fires are also ecofriendly fires because they produce less harmful emissions.
5. Keep Up with Home Insurance Requirements
Many home insurance policies actually require an annual chimney cleaning and inspection. If you suffer from a house fire and can’t provide proof that you met this requirement, your claim may not be accepted which means you’ll be stuck with the full cost. Don’t run that risk!
Protect your home and future by scheduling a chimney cleaning and inspection now! If you’re looking for a chimney sweep in the tri-state area, give us a call! Our expert crews respect your time and your home. We always arrive on time, get the job done quickly and clean up so your home looks as good when we leave as it did when we arrived.