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The Truth About Chimney Maintenance: Common Myths Debunked

Nov 4th, 2020 // Chimney Flashing Repair

Fireplaces are beautiful, cozy, architecturally awesome additions to any home. The provide heat, a place for family to gather, and provide a place to make smores when it’s too cold to have a fire outside. Keeping them clean and maintaining their structure is important to ensuring their function remains intact, however, if you’re thinking about working on your chimney yourself, here are a few things you should know first. 

Creosote Cleaning 

Creosote is a carbon chemical that forms when burning wood. It builds up in your flute lining the more fires you have. If you don’t clean your chimney often, creosote can build up and potentially cause chimney fires. However, before you decide to take matters into your own hands and clean out your chimney, it’s important to understand that creosote cleaning isn’t as easy as it seems. 

For example, many do-it-yourselfers suggest dropping bricks or heavy objects down your chimney to break up creosote build up. This is highly inaccurate, as the process can cause damage to your chimney and is ineffective at removing most of the build up. Hiring professionals with the proper tools, materials, and solutions to removing creosote and other debris is the best option for keeping your chimney clean and preventing any damage. 

Inspections Are Optional 

You may think that if you rarely use your fireplace, having it inspected would be moot. Not true. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, there are many factors that can cause obstructions in the flute and lead to damage or danger when you do light a fire. 

Animals can build nests inside, which can keep smoke trapped inside the chimney, causing damage to your home. Additionally, water and moisture can begin to build up, which can lead to deterioration of your chimney’s structure and expensive repairs. By having your chimney inspected properly by a professional, you are ensuring everything is safe, secure, and working as it should. 

Gas Fireplaces Still Need Attention 

While gas burning fireplaces burn clean fuel, there are still many things that can contribute to build up or issues inside the chimney. Birds and other small animals can still access your chimney and debris can still find its way inside. Without regular check ups and cleanings, your gas burning fireplace can cause just as much damage as a wood burning version. 

Be sure to schedule cleanings and inspections regularly, at least once a year, to ensure when you light your next fire, you can feel confident about your safety. 

Weathering Storms 

The last thing you may think about after a big storm is your chimney. However, it should be top of mind. Severe winds and elements can cause breakdowns of your chimney’s exterior and if severe enough, such as earthquakes, the base of your chimney can also be affected. If you’ve experienced a storm that has caused major damage throughout your neighborhood, it’s a good precaution to call in a professional chimney inspector to ensure everything is still secure. 

Professionals will be able to not only check the roof and top of the chimney, but also go into crawl spaces or basements to check the base for damage or erosion. 

Chimney Cleaning Logs: Do or Don’t

When it comes to cleaning your chimney, the topic of using cleaning logs that supposedly burn and remove build up is a tricky one—mostly because they don’t work well despite the hype. These logs are designed to emit chemicals that remove creosote build up by drying it out and having it fall off into the fireplace or the fireplace shelves. However, this is a dangerous and ineffective way to clean your chimney, as creosote sitting on shelves is highly dangerous and can lead to fires. 

Additionally, these logs simply don’t work well and can lead to issues within your fireplace and chimney flutes. When it’s time for a cleaning, it’s best to leave it to the professionals who have the correct materials to truly remove creosote and other build ups instead of relying on unreliable means. 

If you think it’s time for your chimney to be cleaned or would like an inspection done to ensure everything is working properly, give us a call to set up an appointment.

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