Fire Hazards – Part Two: Why Should I get my Chimney Cleaned?

Posted on December 15, 2020.

roaring fire in a fireplace

 

After an inspection shows you need to have your chimney cleaned, a chimney sweep will come and remove soot, blockages, and built-up creosote from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper.   Cleaning your chimney regularly will maintain the safe operation of your chimney and/or heating system.

 

What is Creosote and why must it be removed?

Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney or liner as a result of burning wood. It takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire. The rate of accumulation can be higher if you practice poor burning practices or have a burning appliance or stove that is not working efficiently. Different types of wood create different amounts of creosote when burned. Pine causes a rapid build-up of creosote and should be avoided as a regular source of wood. Creosote can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce efficiency.

 

Rachel Ray is informing the public about creosote after she lost her upstate New York Home in 2020 from a creosote fire.  She got emotional on her show after recalling details of the fire and discussing Christmas decorations.  Her home was engulfed within minutes and she was unable to save anything but herself!  She states she had her chimney checked and cleaned twice each year.

Creosote buildup is dangerous.  Fires are unpredictable.  Your best bet to avoid fire damage and chimney fires is to have your chimneys inspected every year and cleaned when advised.

 

What will a chimney sweep do?

A chimney sweep will seal off the area with plastic and lay down drop cloths to ensure the area stays clean.  During the process of cleaning your chimney flue, there will be vacuum suction to ensure all the debris and soot from the rotary-powered brushes stays out of your home. Then, the chimney sweep will clean the smoke chamber and remove all of the ash from the collection bin.   The whole process is quick and painless for the homeowner.

 

How often must I have my chimney cleaned?

It is recommended by the National Fire Protection Agency that you clean your chimney once a year.  This depends greatly on the wood-burning habits and what type of wood you are burning regularly.  It is recommended that you not burn pine wood on a regular basis as it builds up creosote rapidly.

Please remember, if you find yourself in need of disaster restoration services, you can call ServiceMaster 24/7/365. Our disaster restoration specialists are always available to answer the phone and get you and your property back to normal as soon as possible.


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