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6 Compelling Reasons for Chimney Cleaning and Inspection before Winter

Chimney Repair Portland

One of the most delightful things about winter is huddling up next to a warm fire at the end of a tiring and chilly day over a glass of red wine or hot coffee. However, before you decide to warm yourself in front of a cozy fire, you have to make sure that the chimney is thoroughly inspected and cleaned.

Why is it necessary to inspect and clean your chimney before the winter? There are plenty of reasons, but we have gathered here the six most essential ones for your knowledge. Let’s see what these are.

1. Protect Your Family from Fire Hazard

You may have noticed a tar-like dark substance (it sometimes shines like glass) on the walls of your chimney. This substance called as creosote, which gets deposited on your chimney’s inner walls, especially if you are using solid fuel such as wood. Unseasoned wood and softwoods are known to produce the highest amount of creosote.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the creosote buildup is the leading factor contributing to around 30% of the home heating fires. In other words, a dirty chimney is the most-likely culprit in almost one-third of home fires. Creosote is a highly flammable chemical compound. So, it can catch fire easily. All it takes is high temperature or a stray spark to light up the creosote layer. The creosote buildup also causes grave damage to the chimney structure in the long run.

The best possible way to reduce the fire hazard associated with the creosote buildup is to clean your chimney. However, you can’t remove this hazardous chemical without professional cleaning equipment, protective gear, training, and cleansers. Just make sure to hire the best and the most experienced professional, whether you are looking for chimney sweep in Portland .

2. Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

One of the primary functions of a fireplace chimney is to provide a safe outlet for the smoke and the carbon monoxide. So, blocked chimneys not only lead to house fires, but can also result in carbon monoxide poisoning without you knowing it.

Although you can smell and see the smoke, carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless. So, you wouldn’t know about potential risk until your family starts showing the carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. So, you should get it cleaned from a professional before you start using the chimney again.

3. Find out and Repair Hidden Damages Beforehand

Chimneys often get exposed to harsh weather including rain, extreme temperatures, wind, and corrosive chemical elements present in the smoke. However, not many people are keen on having preventive maintenance for their chimneys. As a result, these problems go unnoticed until they become potentially life-threatening and expensive.

In most inspections, you will usually come across cracked chimney crowns, damaged flue liners, and warped dampers. Fortunately, you can get these damages repaired easily. When you get your chimney inspected and cleaned before the winter, the professional cleaners can bring such problems to your notice and do the necessary repairs. They will check every essential component of your chimney including the mortar, bricks, damper system, flue, and crown to make sure it is in perfect working condition.

4. Getting Rid of Debris and Pest

When not in use, chimneys tend to get clogged with debris such as sticks and dried leaves (probably from your lawn) and pests. Birds, squirrels, rats, and owls often find shelter in chimneys. Bird nests, especially made by chimney swifts are perhaps the most common pest control issue when it comes to house chimneys. They use sticks and build a nest in the flue of your chimney.

Lighting up a chimney infested with pests and debris can spark a fire, leading to accidents or also cause carbon monoxide poisoning due to clogging. So, instead of smoking out pests and birds or burning away debris, you should hire a professional chimney cleaner to sweep it down.

However, removing an active bird nest or migratory birds is illegal in some countries such as the UK. So, you need to check on the law in your region before taking the necessary step. Professionals are usually aware of such local and state laws.

5. Enjoy Increased Efficiency

Perhaps the most significant advantage of a chimney sweep is the increased efficiency. The cleaning process removes debris that may interfere with the oxygen supply, resulting in higher efficiency.

As the performance improves, you can enjoy higher fuel economy, which in turn, saves heating costs in the long run. But most importantly, an efficient chimney produces less smoke and generates more heat, making it the healthiest way to keep you warm during winter. You can also help save the environment by improving efficiency as less fuel is consumed. It’s a win-win for everyone.

6. Helps with Homeowner’s Insurance

Most homeowners’ insurance policies require you to inspect and clean your chimneys annually. The proof of having regular preventive chimney maintenance plays a critical role in claiming insurance. If the cause of a house fire is found to be the fireplace or anything chimney-related, the insurance company may not cover the damage unless you furnish proof of a professional chimney sweep in last 12 months. Check with your insurance provider to make sure you are doing everything to follow the rules in this regard.

Parting Words

When was the last time you had your chimney inspected or cleaned? As you can see, scheduling a professional chimney sweep before the burning season begins comes with several advantages. Apart from having all the right tools, professionals also have the necessary experience to handle any unexpected issues. They can help turn a cold and harsh winter into a safe and warm season, at least inside your house. So, when are you getting your chimney cleaned? Soon, we hope!

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