Keeping Your Chimney Clean to Keep Your Family Safe
Cooler autumn air is now sweeping in through our mountain valleys. Changing colors of leaves spreading out over hillsides. Farmers’ crops are being harvested and our days becoming shorter. Cooler seasons are upon us and many homeowners are beginning to use their furnaces and light fires in their homes. In preparation for the winter season, Bruce with Mountainside Home Inspections cleaned his chimney to ensure it is safe to use with the woodstove in his home.
Why Do I Need to Clean My Chimney?
Whether you have a woodstove, fireplace, heating appliance, or furnace it is recommended to have their vent systems professionally cleaned on an annual basis. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) reports that there are over 25,000 chimney fires per year in the US. It only takes a small amount of creosote buildup to create the potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that forms inside your chimney/liner as a result of burning wood. Different types of wood cause different amounts of creosote buildup and should be avoided as a regular source of wood. For example, pine causes a rapid build up of creosote when burning.
Doesn’t my Home Inspector Inspect My Chimney?
Your home inspector is limited to the visible portions of the chimney and flue liner only. Therefore, we always recommend to have a professional chimney sweep do a more exhaustive inspection and cleaning to ensure your families safety. This is true for furnace/heating appliances as well, not only wood burning components. Chimney professionals have the proper equipment and training to get the job done!
Why Should I Clean My Chimney Every Year?
National Fire Protection Association says “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” Even if you don’t use your chimney often, birds squirrels and other animals may be entering your chimney making it unsafe to use. On a recent home inspection we found a bird nest with live vegetation growing from it, the current home owner had no idea!
CSIA says that ” fireplaces should be cleaned when 1/8″ of sooty buildup is evident inside the chimney and flue system. If any glaze is appearing in the flue, cleaning should be done even if there is less than 1/8″ of build up. Any time an appreciable accumulation of soot and creosote occurs it can be enough to fuel a chimney fire that may damage the chimney and even spread to the roof and home. Furnace flue systems also require cleaning, so don’t neglect regular cleaning of those venting systems.”
For more details and informational videos, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America
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