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What you should know About your chimney

If you own a fireplace, chimney maintenance should not be optional. Carbon monoxide, deadly fires, poisoning, and expensive chimney repairs are only some of the more serious consequences associated with neglected chimney maintenance. If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned in the past year, you need to know the following:

Chimney Fires

As fire burns, smoke goes up the chimney. Some of that smoke condenses into creosote in the flue, the inner surface of the chimney. Creosote, a hard tar-like substance, builds up over time. When a thick coat of creosote catches fire, you get a chimney fire, a powerful and frightening inferno that can be as loud as a low flying jet. Most of the creosote build-up occurs when the fire is first lit. A cold chimney causes much more smoke to condense on the chimney flue. Therefore, a continuous fire will usually foul a chimney slower than many separate fires.

Chimney fires are often so hot that nearby walls and rafters burst into flames. The fire spreads so fast that firefighters often arrive too late to save any of the home. The extremely high temperatures associated with chimney fires cause cracks to form in the flue and chimney. Carbon monoxide is generated anywhere fuel is burned, including your fireplace, wood stove or insert. Normally, these deadly fumes vent safely up the chimney. But if the chimney starts to leak, the fumes may be drawn back into the home. 

Proper chimney sweeps can help prevent fires!!

Chimney Maintenance Tips

The Chimney Safety Institute recommends that if you light fires in your fireplace or woodstove three or more times a week during the heating season, proper chimney maintenance includes cleaning the chimney at least once a year. If you burn green wood, twice-a-year cleaning may be necessary.

According to data collected from homeowners across the country, comprehensive chimney maintenance includes cleaning. That said, your location, the time of year, and the soot level of your chimney can cause this number to fluctuate significantly. Obviously, most homeowners don’t follow the recommendations from the Chimney Safety Institute. It should also be kept in mind that major chimney repairs which can cost thousands of dollars could be prevented through regular chimney cleaning.


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