What Homeowners Should Know About Chimney Cleaning & Inspection

January 15, 2019

Building a custom home is exciting and it is just the beginning of being a homeowner. Once you are moved into your dream custom home, you want to make sure to take care of it, so it lasts as long as possible. Plus, regular maintenance can help prevent surprise repairs and issues. Stoves or fireplaces are popular additions to many custom home designs, which also requires the addition of a chimney. Chimney cleaning and inspection is a maintenance task that can sometimes be overlooked, but it is very important. Here’s what homeowners should know about chimney cleaning & inspection:

1. Inspect Chimneys At Least Once a Year

All of your chimneys, fireplaces or stoves, and vents should be inspected at least once a year by a qualified inspector or certified chimney sweep. You want to ask for, and make sure you receive, a Level 1 chimney inspection and sweeping.

This inspection checks your chimney and other areas to make sure they are structurally sound, free of deposits or blockages, and that the correct clearances are still in place. Any cleaning, maintenance, and repairs should be done as needed. Getting an annual chimney inspection lets you know when anything is needed before it causes issues.

2. Clean and Inspect Your Chimney Even if You Don’t Use Your Fireplace

Some homeowners may choose not to use their fireplace for one reason or another, or to take a break and not use it one year. Even if you don’t use your fireplace, it’s still important to get it and the chimney cleaned and inspected.

When you have a chimney, your home’s other heating devices will release toxic gases through it. If anything is blocking your chimney, those potentially harmful fumes cannot escape and remain inside your home instead.

3. Chimney Cleaning & Inspection Prevents Chimney Fires

Each year, over 22,000 home fires are caused by chimneys, fireplaces, and chimney connectors. Many of these home fires may have been prevented with regular chimney cleaning and inspection. Dirty or blocked chimneys can burn explosively or they can be slow-burning – in fact, most chimney fires are slow-burning and even go unnoticed!

These chimney fires don’t get enough air to become volatile, explosive, or even visible. Oftentimes, you won’t know you had a chimney fire until the next chimney inspection! Although it can go unnoticed at the time, a chimney fire is still dangerous as it can cause serious damage to the chimney structure, nearby parts of the house, and more. This is also why regular chimney cleaning & inspection is one of the top fire safety tips for your home.

What to Know About Creosote

Regularly getting your chimney inspected and cleaned prevents the buildup of creosote. Creosote is either tar-like or crusty and flaky and is the result of the by-products of combustion condensing as they reach the chimney. No matter what form creosote takes, it is still highly combustible.

If you get enough buildup of it, it can ignite and cause a chimney fire. But, clean chimneys don’t catch on fire, so make sure you get your chimney inspected and cleaned every year to help prevent potential home fires.

Chimney inspection & cleaning is an important maintenance task for your custom home and is one of the essential winter home maintenance tips. Not only does it keep you and your family safe by preventing chimney fires, but it also keeps your equipment working its best for a long time.

If you’re moving into your custom home, or your current home’s chimney hasn’t been inspected, start your research with the Chimney Safety Institute of America and find a qualified and certified sweep to inspect and clean your chimney. Whether you need an inspection now or a year from now, it helps to have someone you can trust and to know what to look for.