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.

Fire Hazards – Part One: Chimney Inspections

Posted on December 11, 2020.

chimney in front of night sky
Chimney Inspections can help you reduce fire hazards and can save you costly repairs.

Fire Hazards: A two-part series on Chimneys & Fireplaces and what you need to know–

Before you hang the stockings in front of the chimney with care, consider what care your wood-burning fireplace requires. Wood Burning Fireplace maintenance helps reduce fire hazard risks.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends a chimney inspection every single year. Chimney inspections ensure that all your systems are in working order and operating as they should. Most homeowners then have a chimney sweep clean their chimney every year as well. The timeline for having your fireplace cleaned depends on how often and how much you burn in your fireplace. The recommended checks occur yearly, more if you burn a lot or notice performance issues.

Odor can be another warning sign. If you smell a campfire after your fire is out, you may need to have your chimney checked again. You need to clean your chimney more often if you burn pine or burn wood on a regular basis. A chimney inspection will tell you if you need your chimney swept and cleaned as well. Do not risk the chance that an undiscovered defect in your chimney could turn into an expensive repair, or worse yet, a chimney fire. We are damage restoration experts, and we see the devastation from chimney fires.

Even if you only use your fireplace minimally an inspection is still advised annually to look at all the heating venting systems, chimneys, stove systems, and furnace flues in your home. During these inspections, many defects or issues can be easily detected. Some of these may require action even if cleaning is not needed.

When You Need a Chimney Inspection

You need a chimney inspection if you have not had your chimney inspected in the last year and you are burning fires in your wood-burning fireplace. Equally important, you will want a chimney inspection if you have not burned wood in your fireplace for a while. Before you burn, it is best to know if pests or rodents have taken up residence and caused any damage or blockage. A chimney inspection will reveal this knowledge for you.

You need a chimney inspection if you have had any performance issues with your fireplace.

You will want a chimney inspection if you have recently purchased a new home with a wood-burning fireplace, and it was not part of your initial inspection.

So again, before you hang the stockings by the chimney with care this holiday season, think about giving your chimney some care with an inspection and chimney sweep if necessary. This is part one of a two-part blog on Fire Hazards.

Remember, if you find yourself in need of disaster restoration services, you can call ServiceMaster 24/7/365. We are always available to answer the phone and get to you as soon as possible.

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