Despite being prevalent in many parts of the country — especially in those with colder climates — chimneys are something that many homeowners unfortunately ignore. Chimneys are a vital part of a home's structure, however, and should be treated regularly and with care. If you have recently purchased a home and are not sure why or when you need to have your chimney cleaned, keep reading for just a few of the reasons why your chimney needs to be cleaned routinely.
Getting Rid of Creosote Buildup
One of the biggest reasons why chimneys need to be swept each year (usually in the spring or autumn) is the inevitable reality of creosote buildup. Creosote is a substance that is a natural byproduct of any wood-burning fire, and it also happens to be highly flammable. If you do not hire an experienced chimney sweep to get rid of the creosote buildup, you risk a sudden and potentially explosive chimney fire. This can in turn cause injuries and significant property damage. Don't procrastinate on chimney cleaning; even a fraction of an inch of creosote buildup in your chimney or liner has the potential to start a chimney fire.
Ensuring Vent Clearance
Another crucial aspect of chimney sweeping is making sure that the vents are clear of any blockages or obstructions. Because they are hidden from plain view, blockages may go unnoticed for months or years if you do not use your chimney regularly. One of the most common causes of chimney blockages is a bird's nest, though small animals such as rats and squirrels can also choose to make their home in a chimney. A chimney sweep can quickly get rid of these blockages so that the efficiency of your chimney is not compromised in any way and your vents can work properly.
Any homeowner can easily spot a crack in an exterior wall, but the deterioration of a chimney is a much more difficult thing to detect without regularly performing a chimney cleaning. One of the big advantages offered by a chimney sweep, then, is the detection of anything that may eventually cause structural damage. This includes, but is not limited to, cracks in the masonry, tears in the chimney liner, or general deterioration of the flashing. Problems like these that are not promptly fixed can end up costing several times more than a regular chimney cleaning.
For more information about how to care for your chimney, contact a professional chimney sweep today.