Reasons to Get a Chimney Cleaned & Inspected
Relaxing next to a warming fire at the end of the day can be a great way to get through the cold, gray days of winter. But this comforting habit could become a serious health or safety risk if you haven’t had your fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected before you light a fire in it.
Fireplaces are a leading source of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the U.S. This source of CO2 poisoning could easily be prevented if the homeowner had invested in a recommended chimney cleaning and inspection. These are some of the ways that having your chimney cleaned and inspected can protect your property, your safety, and also save you money.
Prevent a Fire
Even if your chimney only has a thin build-up of creosote upon its surfaces, it is highly flammable. It’s a chemical compound that forms in chimneys when solid fuels (wood) are burned. It’s difficult to completely remove it by yourself without professional grade cleaners and equipment. Hiring a CSIA-certified professional to clean your chimney is the surest way to remove all of the creosote in the chimney. Unseasoned wood/ wet wood and softwoods produce the most creosote.
Creosote is the largest contributing factor in chimney fires. High temperatures, embers within the chimney, or a spark can easily ignite the creosote. Large amounts of creosote can burn for long periods of time and at extremely hot temperatures, much hotter than the average temperature of a normal fire. Even if that raging chimney fire stays contained within the flue, it can cause serious structural damage to your chimney and the areas surrounding it.
Discover Hidden Damage or Structural Problems
Every element of a chimney – the flue, damper, brick, mortar and crown-all need to be in proper condition to protect your home from water damage, fire, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately, chimney systems are prone to get damaged and deteriorate because they are constantly exposed to harsh weather, very high temperatures and corrosive chemical compounds (creosote). Many chimney problems go unnoticed until the problem becomes severe, and by then it can be expensive! Without the right equipment and a trained eye, it’s hard to ascertain what is going on inside a chimney.
Cracked chimney crowns, damaged flue liners and warped dampers are common problems that are often discovered through a chimney inspection. Detecting problems like these early is the best way to save yourself from expensive repairs in the future. And hiring a trained professional is the best way to detect these problems.
Remove Obstructions & Pests
Just like your gutters, chimneys can get clogged up with lawn debris- sticks, leaves, and animal nests. Birds, bats, squirrels, raccoons, and other creatures like to make their homes in chimneys during the spring and summer. Some will move into your chimney in fall when the outside temperatures drop, so that they can benefit from the warmth of the home coming through the chimney walls. Then if you light your first Autumn fire in your fireplace when the flue is blocked by an animal, nest or debris, you could unknowingly worsen the situation.
Also, if an animal cause a chimney blockage, smoke isn’t able to completely escape through the chimney and it will can back up into your home increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Contacting an exterminator or pest removal service is the safest way to have an animal removed from the chimney. Contacting a certified professional is the best way to completely remove other debris from the chimney.
Increase the Lifespan of the Flue Liner
The flue liner is the chimney system’s first line of defense against a house fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. The liner insulates the rest of the chimney from the high temperatures of the fire and from corrosive chemicals naturally occurring in smoke. It also prevents embers or sparks and carbon monoxide from creeping into your home through cracks in the bricks and mortar.
Large buildups of creosote and soot deteriorate flue liners because they trap moisture which corrodes the liner. Having the flue cleaned at least once a year helps to keep it in its best working condition to increase its longevity.
The efficiency of your fireplace or stove is important whether you are concerned about the environment or whether your goal is to reduce your heating costs. When a fire burns fuel efficiently it produces more heat and less smoke. This means you’ll be able to keep your home at a comfortable temperature without overloading the firebox and the fire won’t produce as many harmful gases.
Scheduling a chimney cleaning is a simple and cost-effective way to improve your fireplace or stove’s efficiency. Cleaning it will remove any obstructions that might limit the supply of oxygen that the fire needs to burn properly. Repairing small problems discovered through an inspection, like a warped damper, can also improve fireplace efficiency by ensuring the chimney system is fully functioning the way that it was designed to.
Why Choose Clean Sweeps Chimney Service
When you are looking to have maintenance performed on your fireplace or wood stove, do not compromise the safety of your family and home by trusting this vital operation to just anyone who has a few brushes. Chimney sweeping should be performed by a qualified professional to be certain that it is being done correctly and thoroughly.
Your venting system needs to be operating properly to insure both safety and efficiency, so do your research when hiring a professional to perform chimney sweeping services. A homeowner couldn’t do any better than to hire a company that is an NCSG member at the same time as having its technicians certified by the CSIA. This is a brief overview of the two organizations and why they are so essential to a chimney sweep’s credentials and reputation:
Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep
The Chimney Safety Institute of America offers the foremost chimney safety organization in the United States. The CSIA website offers a great deal of information addressing what the requirements are to obtain their certification. CSIA certified technicians stay current on new technologies in the industry. And they stay current on the most recent standards issued by the National Fire Protection Association.
The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Program is an educational and testing program designed to evaluate a chimney sweep’s knowledge of:
-technical aspects of chimney construction and dynamics
– solid fuel appliances and EPA requirements
– the physics of wood-burning and the formation of creosote
– codes, clearances and standards
– industry practices and techniques
Spanning the nation, the fastest and easiest way for a homeowner to assess a chimney serviceman’s knowledge is to check for a CSIA Chimney Sweep credential. CSIA certified sweeps are required to recertify every three years, and they display a date-stamped photo ID badge issued by the CSIA. A homeowner only has to check the home page of the CSIA to locate a CSIA-certified chimney sweep within their local area. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps must also sign a CSIA Chimney Sweep Code of Ethics, which helps reassure homeowners that they will get a knowledgeable sweep and one with integrity and honesty.
National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG)
The National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) is the only nationally recognized trade association for chimney professionals. This organization advances the industry standards through public awareness campaigns. This non-profit also strives to provide progressive services in order to promote professionalism & ethical accountability among its members.
Membership in the NCSG denotes that a chimney sweep is active in staying current with the best industry practices in chimney servicing, maintenance and repair, and also stays current with the latest chimney related products, tools, and service techniques.
Good standing members of the NCSG have:
– A commitment to credibility and professionalism.
– An agreement to adhere to a Code of Ethics as well as possible disciplinary actions against those who fail to do so.
– Access to regular technical updates of Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology which explains and demonstrates new products, best practices, and techniques, along with continuing education at discounted rates.
Homeowners researching chimney sweeps should hire a reputable service to conduct this essential task. The company’s representative(s) should be professional, qualified and should provide the cost of services prior to initiating any work. Clean Sweeps Chimney Services possesses all of these qualities to provide you with the best chimney cleaning services available.
Life is busy for most of us, and families today have to be more creative to find new ways to save money. But there’s one area where they should not cut corners, and that is in caring for the fireplace or chimney by hiring a reputable chimney sweep. The standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) state that inspections shall be conducted by a qualified agency, and adds that fireplaces, chimneys, and vents should be inspected at least annually by a qualified technician. Many people have the mistaken idea that a homeowner with a ladder can perform his own chimney cleaning and do as good a job as a professional. But there are plenty of reasons why proper equipment and experience are needed to give a chimney a thorough cleaning and inspection.
The average homeowner usually has not invested in the proper training, lacks the experience or the industry equipment needed to thoroughly clean or inspect their chimney. Clean Sweeps Chimney Services has made all of these investments in order to best serve your chimney needs. We arrive promptly, work safely and comprehensively, and conduct a review of our findings with our customers following the inspection.
Unfortunately for homeowners, being certified is not a state or federal requirement; however, Clean Sweeps Chimney Services promises to provide the highest quality of service to each and every customer. Our reputation is very important and we take pride in providing honest work. This is why much of our work results directly from referrals from satisfied customers. We do not need tactics to try and up-sell you more services or charge for additional repairs.