Getting a chimney sweep may sound like a chore you’d read about in a Dickens novel. However, there is still a massive demand for it today.
Why? Well, shockingly, a 2016 report by the National Fire Protection Association highlights that dirty chimneys are a leading cause of house fires. That either means a lot of homeowners don’t understand how important it is to keep their chimneys clean, or they aren’t keeping up with their chimney sweeping.
Common Questions About Chimney Sweeping
Can I Do It Myself?
You can, but we don’t recommend that you do. We suggest sourcing a certified chimney sweep because the task is actually far more complicated than it sounds.
Here are just a few of the problems professional sweeps are trained to deal with:
- The combustion process. Combustion occurs while you use your fireplace, and it deposits an acidic material that weakens metal chimneys. This damages them and causes a hazard.
- Creosote buildup. This is especially serious because creosote is flammable. This occurs as a result of incomplete combustion and lines your chimney. In the event of a fire, it could spread through your attic and to other parts of your home, causing a hazard to both life and property.
- Wildlife. Sometimes birds can nest inside your chimney, blocking it with twigs and leaves.
If you don’t know how to recognize or deal with these common issues, a DIY job is likely to fail or put your property at risk.
How Often Should I Hire a Chimney Sweep?
If you’re lighting fires regularly year after year, you should have an annual inspection. The best time to have it is typically midway through the winter season.
From these inspections, the professionals should be able to estimate how often your chimney needs sweeping.
What Should I Expect from a Professional Chimney Sweep?
If you hire a professional chimney sweep, you should expect the following services:
- Sweeping of the fireplace.
- Inspection of the firebox, liners, smoke chamber, flue, and chimney exterior.
- Confirmation that the proper clearances are in place for the appliance.
- Recommendations if any of the equipment or structure needs replacing or repairing.
- A video inspection. (This may cost extra, but it’s certainly worth doing because it’s the only way of detecting any hidden damage.)
When you get a quote, make sure the chimney service offers all of the above services, at the very minimum. If they don’t, they may not be as reputable as they seem.
Also, chimney sweeps typically use long rods that have a metal bristle structure attached at the end. They should lay a plastic sheet over the area in which they’re working to protect your home.
Have Other Questions about Chimney Sweeping?
The questions above are just the tip of the iceberg, especially when it comes to finding a good sweep or scheduling an annual inspection. If you have a question that you would like answered, check out our services page or give us a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have!
Also, don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog. We discuss everything from fireplace repair and safety to whether you should be concerned by your chimney cracks. Enjoy!