Chimney Cleaning Mistakes That You Don’t Want to Make!
A fireplace is a beautiful architectural feature that increases your home value. Maintaining your chimney and fireplace is easy as long as your schedule an annual chimney cleaning. Skipping a professional chimney sweep can put your health and home at risk.
Every year, thousands of people suffer preventable house fires caused by their fireplaces. Burning wood year after year is dangerous if you don’t have creosote build-up removed. You can avoid this risk by following the National Fire Protection Association’s recommendation and scheduling a professional chimney cleaning once a year. Creosote is tough to remove without professional training and experience. Don’t make these common chimney cleaning mistakes!
#1. Assuming Hardwood Doesn’t Produce Creosote
Since seasoned hardwoods burn cleaner than softwoods, you may think that they don’t produce creosote. This is a commonly believed myth. It is based on the fact that seasoned hardwoods produce less smoke and creosote than softwoods.
If you burn seasoned hardwoods throughout the winter, the amount of creosote in your chimney will be minimal compared to burning unseasoned or softwoods. Your chimney will still need to be swept in the spring. Even 1/8 of an inch of creosote build-up can spark a deadly chimney fire.
#2. Relying on Chimney Cleaning Logs & DIY Cleaners
Many homeowners rely on chimney cleaning logs or other products, like salts and chemicals, to clear out creosote instead of calling on a professional chimney sweep. It’s easy to find DIY chimney cleaning products at a local home improvement store or online. Unfortunately, these products can cause more harm than good.
Burning a chimney-cleaning log can increase the risk of a fire instead of reducing it. The chemical fumes produced by DIY chimney sweeping logs can loosen creosote built up on the flue walls. When this loosened creosote falls down the chimney, it can ignite, resulting in a chimney fire. The harsh chemical fumes can also damage some chimney liners. If you have a wood-burning stove, it can cause irreversible damage to it. Using a chimney sweep log may be convenient, but it isn’t worth the risk.
#3. Waiting to Schedule a Cleaning in the Fall
Autumn is the busiest season for chimney sweeps, but it isn’t the best time for a cleaning. Many people wait until cool weather returns to schedule a chimney cleaning. If you’ve done this in the past, you know that it is the most challenging time to book an appointment. Chimney services are in high demand in the autumn; as a result, few appointments are available, and prices are at their highest.
Spring and summer are much better times to schedule a chimney cleaning. Soot and creosote in the chimney can aggravate seasonal allergies. Creosote can also stink up your house during the hot, humid months of summer. A spring or summer sweep will improve the air quality in your home. You can take advantage of seasonal discounts and more flexible scheduling by scheduling now. If any chimney damage is discovered during the cleaning, you will have plenty of time before winter to have them repaired.
#4. Hiring a Contractor Without Checking their References
Chimney cleaning scams are prevalent throughout the country. These contractors often offer low rates for chimney cleanings and then claim to find chimney damage that requires expensive repairs. You can avoid fraudulent contractors by following these three best practices when you’re looking for a trustworthy chimney sweep.
1. Only hire a professional chimney sweep that is certified
The NFI and CSIA are professional organizations that train and certify chimney sweeps. You can find a list of contractors on their websites that have been certified by them. When hiring a chimney contractor, make sure they are professionally certified.
2. Check with your local Better Business Bureau
Your local Better Business Bureau keeps track of scams in your area. On their website, you can also find ratings for local businesses and contractors that can give you insight into the quality of a chimney sweep you are considering.
3. Review their references.
You should also check out their reviews on Google, Yelp, or Angie’s List. Reading other customers’ experiences will give you a better idea of their work quality and what to expect.
A fireplace can be a serious safety hazard if it isn’t taken care of. Scheduling a professional chimney cleaning once a year is the most effective way to prevent a house fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t need a chimney cleaning because you only burn seasoned hardwood or use DIY chimney cleaning supplies. Be sure to schedule your cleaning in the spring or summer with a certified chimney technician like Burlington Fireplace & Solar’s chimney technician team.
Burlington Fireplace & Solar’s chimney technician team are NFI-certified chimney technicians. We provide chimney cleanings and repairs for residents across Southeast Wisconsin. You can check out our reviews on Google. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!