5 Chimney Myths — Dispelled
If you’ve heard that the feature most people look for when seeking to buy a new home is a fireplace, that’s not a misconception. While there are plenty of harmless myths, misunderstandings about your chimney can lead to danger and a need for costly and unnecessary repairs. The following are five chimney myths; have you heard any of them?
Myth 1 – Do-it-yourself Chimney Cleaning is Easy, Thanks to the Internet
With a simple Internet search, you can find easy step-by-step instructions on how to do just about anything. There are even tutorials on how to clean a chimney, but don’t fall for the idea that it’s a simple way to save money. The truth is that chimneys can contain enough creosote and soot to fill several 5-gallon containers or more. Without the equipment used by professional chimney sweeps, when you clean out all of that mess yourself, it is usually a regrettable decision. First of all, you need to be sure to use a respirator. Secondly, without a system for keeping your home clean throughout the process of removing the contents of your chimney, there is going to be a serious mess to contend with in your home. Besides all the mess, you miss out on having your chimney checked by a professional who can identify potential problems that the untrained eye may not recognize, such as moisture problems which lead to necessary and costly repairs.
Myth 2 – With a Metal Chimney Liner, Regular Inspections are No Longer Required
After investing in a metal flue liner for their chimney, homeowners sometimes have the idea that all potential chimney problems have been solved and no further maintenance or cleaning is needed. The first thing to be aware of is the fact that some warranties on liners are made void if regular inspections are not continued after being installed. The fact is that a buildup of creosote and soot can occur in your chimney, no matter what type of liner you have. Other types of obstructions can occur, as well, such as animals getting into your chimney. The sooner you catch problems with your chimney, the more money you can save on the cost of repairs, which is among the best reasons to get annual chimney inspections.
Myth 3 – An Annual Chimney Inspection is Unnecessary when the Fireplace is Barely Used
Chimney problems are not all caused by excessive use of the fireplace. Masonry can deteriorate, moisture can enter the system, birds can build their nests in the chimney, and the chimney flue can become damaged due to lack of maintenance. Even if you use your fireplace only a handful of times, an annual inspection could save you a lot of money on repair costs that would be exorbitant if it weren’t for the inspection which revealed the problem. If you light a fire in your fireplace or wood stove when the chimney is obstructed, it can be dangerous; deadly carbon monoxide fumes can enter your home.
Myth 4 – Burning Pine and Other Softwoods Causes Excessive Creosote Damage to your Chimney Lining
The myth that softwoods such as cedar and pine should be avoided because of the damage they do to chimneys is one that has been around for generations, but the myth was dispelled when the University of Georgia conducted a study on that premise. It was found that softwoods do no more harm than other types of firewood, as long as the firewood is seasoned. It turned out that low-temperature fires are the biggest culprit, along with burning green wood – no matter what type of wood you burn.
Myth 5 – Like Santa, People Can Slide Down the Chimney
Santa has some kind of magic which allows him to leave presents for boys and girls every Christmas. It would literally require magic of some kind for a rotund man to fit down a chimney, since a chimney is too small for a thin teenager to scoot down. Only small children can fit, and that hasn’t been done for a couple of hundred years, when children were used as chimney cleaners. It has become apparent that many people don’t realize how narrow chimneys are because every once in a while a would-be thief becomes trapped in a chimney while trying to enter and burglarize a luxurious home.
Contact our chimney professionals with any questions about chimney care and maintenance and to schedule your annual chimney inspection.
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