Just In Time For Old Man Winter: 4 Important Things To Know About Having Your Chimney Cleaned

Construction & Contractors Blog

Before winter whips into your area, you need to make sure your chimney is ready to do the job of heating your home and providing you with a cozy place to gather. Here are four things to know before the first snowflake falls:

1. Know When Your Chimney Needs Cleaning

The length of time between chimney cleanings is usually determined by use; however, there are common indicators that will let you know it's time for a professional to have a look up there, sooner, rather than later:

  • Smoke seeps into the room, instead of going up and out the chimney
  • Odd odors of permeate the home
  • The damper or vent to the fireplace is black with soot

If you're uncertain whether it's time to have the chimney cleaned, call a contractor and let them know when the last cleaning was and what's currently going on around your home. There's no harm in having an extra cleaning or in being extra cautious, particularly in consideration of the possible dangers posed by a clogged and dirty chimney.

2. Know What Comes Out When It's Cleaned

You can expect soot buildup and other debris, along with the unfortunate occasional bird; however, what you really need to know about is creosote. Creosote is a collection of carbon chemicals that can clog up the chimney pathway. It's very flammable, but it's also an irritant, too. If you've noticed people complaining about watery eyes, a scratchy throat or itchy, runny nose in the room, that could be a tell-tale sign that creosote is present.

Not only will your chimney require thorough cleaning, but the contractor may also need to conduct an investigation to determine why the creosote is building up.

3. Know If Your Chimney Cleaning Contractor Will Inspect After Cleaning

A complete inspection may be recommended by your local fire department or even regulated by your local government. Even if it's not, an inspection should take place, particularly if the dangerous chemical compound of creosote was discovered. Ask your contractor if they'll inspect every part of your chimney, especially anything you (or someone you've hired) has made any changes to the original components.

4. Know About Other Flues You May Want Cleaned And/Or Inspected

A flue is some type of opening (be it a duct or pipe) that allows various gases to safely exit your home. They could run from your fireplace, water heater, furnace or other combustion apparatus, such as a portable generator. While you're having the chimney cleaned and inspected, it's a smart idea for the contractor to examine the other flues to be sure there are no obstructions to proper ventilation or other potential problems.

Old Man Winter is coming and there's nothing anyone can do to stop him; however, you can be prepared. Make sure your fireplace, chimney and all flues are ready, and don't forget to stock up on wood, too, because you're going to need it!

Contact a residential chimney cleaning company to learn more.

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