Regular Chimney Cleaning – An Ounce of Prevention
Burning wood creates smoke which contains several problematic elements, like soot, ash, creosote, and toxic gases. Your chimney and flue are designed to carry smoke out of your home. In order to do this efficiently, the exit path must be blockage free. Fires caused by the build-up of residue in the chimney result in tragic loss of life and substantial property damage annually. Chimney blockage also causes carbon monoxide laden smoke to back up into the home creating potential health hazards.
A routine program of regular chimney cleaning and chimney inspection reduces the risk of chimney fires and ensures safe, efficient operation of your wood-burning stove or fireplace.
Regular Chimney Cleaning vs Soot and Creosote
Regular chimney cleaning attacks the build-up of the two most dangerous wood combustion by-products, soot and creosote.
Soot is a powdery residue that settles like dust on the surfaces of wood burning systems. Initially, soot is easily wiped away. If left in place, however, layers of soot will accumulate in chimneys, stovepipes, and fireplaces, reducing air flow through by up to 30%. This reduces vent efficiency and causes smoke and carbon monoxide to back-up into the home.
Creosote is a gooey residue that condenses from airborne debris carried by smoke. As this debris cools, it sticks to the surfaces of the chimney or flue in layers of flammable deposits. Creosote is so highly flammable that even a small amount of build-up creates the potential for a chimney fire. If allowed to build-up, creosote also significantly blocks air flow, causing poor burn efficiency and the back-up of toxic smoke.
Regular Chimney Cleaning – DIY or Call a Pro
A clean chimney is a safe chimney, but knowing the benefits of regular chimney cleaning is not enough. Starting a regular chimney maintenance program is essential. If you are thinking of going it alone, assess your ability objectively.
• Chimney cleaning is not just running some brushes down the chimney or flue. It is strenuous, sometimes dangerous, work. A thorough chimney cleaning includes removing soot, blockages, and built-up creosote from the chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper. This means accessing the entire length of the wood burning system from the roof to the fire box.
• Chimney cleaning requires specific tools, protective gear, and, most importantly, the know-how to do the job properly.
• Chimney cleaning is a dirty job. Anyone who remembers the chimney sweep scene from the Disney movie Mary Poppins knows just how dirty it can be. Most importantly, that “dirt” contains substances that can cause certain types of cancer if the individual performing the job uniformed or inadequately protected.
Is it any wonder, then, that most people prefer to leave chimney cleaning to the experts. A professional chimney sweep has both the tools and the expertise to complete the job in a timely manner with a minimum of disruption to the homeowner. In addition to chimney cleaning, a professional chimney sweep is also qualified to inspect the chimney and advise on any problems that may exist.
Buckeye Stoves advises annual chimney cleaning and inspection to stay ahead of problems. The best time to have your chimney cleaned is at the end of seasonal usage. Making the appointment for your chimney cleaning during spring or summer avoids the pre-winter rush. In addition, Buckeye Stoves offer specials for early scheduling.
If you are interested in more information about chimney cleaning and chimney inspection or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us. We may not dance across rooftops, but we are here to help keep you informed and your wood burning system functioning safely.