How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney?
When it comes to cleaning your home, certain elements are neglected. If you’re like a lot of homeowners, one of those elements is probably the chimney. It’s often a case of “out of sight, out of mind”, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay. In fact, not cleaning your chimney can lead to disastrous results.
Why is chimney cleaning so important? How often does the structure need to be cleaned? To discover the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading!
Why Cleaning Your Chimney is Important
You depend on your fireplace or wood-burning stove to keep your home warm and cozy during the frigid Minnesota winters, and your fireplace or wood-burning stove relies on your chimney to work safely and properly. You see, the chimney ventilates the smoke and excess heat that fires produce, and feeds fires the oxygen needed to burn. Every time you light a fire, smoke, soot, and ash collect along the interior of the chimney. Outdoor debris, such as leaves, pine needles, and acorns can collect inside the structure, too. All of these elements can clog a chimney and increase the risk of serious hazards.
If a chimney is clogged, it won’t ventilate properly, which means that instead of traveling out of your house, smoke can pour back in. Additionally, if the structure is blocked, oxygen won’t be able to travel into the fireplace, which will negatively affect the efficiency of your fires (they won’t burn as powerfully, they can fizzle out too quickly, or you may have a hard time getting them started). While these issues are certainly problematic, they aren’t the biggest problem; an increased risk of fire is the most concerning issue that is associated with a dirty, clogged chimney. Creosote, soot, and ash are extremely flammable, as are outdoor elements that can get lodged into your chimney (pine needles, leaves, acorns, etc.). If your chimney is clogged, a tiny ember could spark a fire that could quickly engulf your chimney and spread throughout your entire home.
Needless to say, to avoid serious and potentially hazardous issues, cleaning your chimney is an absolute must.
When to Clean Your Chimney
The NFPA recommends having your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year, even if you don’t use it often or at all. If you use your fireplace or wood-burning stove regularly, having it cleaned and inspected more often may be necessary. You should always have the structure cleaned and inspected by a qualified chimney cleaning company. The ideal time to schedule an annual chimney cleaning and inspection is at the start of the fall season, just before the cold weather arrives. If you use your fireplace or wood-burning stove regularly and need to have it cleaned more often, the start of the fall season as well as the spring season, when the warm weather arrives and you aren’t using it as frequently, would be the ideal times to have the structure cleaned and inspected.
Signs You Need to Have Your Chimney Cleaned
You might need to have your chimney cleaned in between regular services. How do you know if you need an emergency cleaning? The following are some of the telltale signs:
- You notice a smoky, campfire-like odor
- Smoke is billowing into your house
- Fires aren’t burning as efficiently or you’re having a hard time lighting them
- A tar-like buildup is dripping down the chimney walls and into the firebox
Everyday Chimney Maintenance Tips
While having your chimney cleaned and inspected by a certified professional at least once a year is essential, there are things that you can do in between regular cleanings to maintain the cleanliness, efficiency, and safety of the structure. To prevent moisture buildup, be sure to use the damper. Clean out ash and burnt wood. Wipe down the interior of your fireplace. Choose the wood you burn wisely; avoid soft woods, such as spruce and cedar, as they burn quickly and create more creosote, and instead, opt for hardwoods that burn slower and create less soot and ash, like beech, birch, oak, and hickory.
Are You Due for a Chimney Cleaning?
Whether you need a regular cleaning or an emergency service, if you’re in need of chimney cleaning in the Twin Cities or the surrounding areas, contact Suburban Chimney Solutions. You can count on the licensed, certified, and experienced technicians at our full-service chimney company to deliver top-quality results. Give us a call today!