3 SPRING HOME AND CHIMNEY CLEANING TIPS
Spring is almost here, which means it’s time for Spring Chimney Cleaning! Proper maintenance of chimneys, vents, and ducts are important for every responsible home-owner to work into their yearly routine.
Here is our recommended TO-DO LIST:
1- Don’t try to do it by yourself!
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommends a yearly chimney cleaning and inspection. While it is tempting to address such cleaning and repairs on your own, keep in mind that the work can be extremely dangerous, physically taxing, and requires specific expertise. It involves getting around on the roof, vigorous scrubbing, and exposure to potentially toxic materials. Plus, it can really stink! It is also important to remember that there is more than just dust and dirt lurking in a chimney. There could be anything in there from dangerous chemicals to live animals. It is necessary to have a CSIA certified chimney sweep on hand who is trained in dealing with any situation that may reveal itself.
There are many spring cleaning jobs that homeowners enjoy doing themselves but chimney cleaning should not be one of them. It is a dangerous job that can lead to a number of different physical injuries and ailments. Instead of spending all day on a risky task, it is best to let a trained professional take care of things
2- Schedule a Chimney Cleaning and Chimney Inspection with American Chimney & Masonry
Contact us today and set up and appointment. What we will do:
Our main concern is removing all of the creosote deposits that have accumulated on the walls of your chimney. Forming naturally as the by-products of combustion (smoke, gases, tar fog, vapors, etc.) exit the cooler walls of your upper chimney, creosote is the highly combustible result of the condensation that occurs. Creosote can be either black or brown, and its appearance can vary. Whether it is sticky and gummy, crispy and brittle, or shiny and hard, creosote, especially in large amounts, is extremely flammable. In fact, creosote deposits are listed as the cause of a majority of chimney fires. Getting rid of these creosote buildups after winter’s heavy fireplace usage is essential to the safety of your chimney.
American Chimney & Masonry takes pride in performing detailed post-winter chimney inspections because we want to find any damage that needs repairing to ensure the safety of your fireplace and chimney. Of course, we seriously examine every part of your chimney; however, there are specific repairs we are looking for, including the following:
Damaged or deteriorated masonry – Loose bricks and chipped mortar on the exterior of your chimney are sure signs of water penetration damage, and this alerts us to the possibility of water leaking inside your chimney that creates even more damage to its interior. If this masonry damage goes unrepaired, you will end up with costly repair work, including a possible rebuild of your entire chimney.
Cracks in the chimney cap – Your chimney cap serves as protection from both water and animal intrusions of your chimney. We can repair cracks and other damage to chimney caps as well as install new caps if the existing caps are beyond repairing.
Cracks and holes in the chimney flue liner – Water leaks can cause serious damage to the liner of your chimney that can endanger your family’s health. A deteriorating flue liner allows toxic gases like carbon monoxide to leak into your home. Repairing or replacing a damaged chimney flue liner will keep those gases exiting out of your chimney instead of infiltrating the interior air of your home.
3- Get Your Ducts and Vents Cleaned!
Every year at this time pollen becomes a huge health issue for many people, especially the very young and elderly. For those of us affected by this, using filters that eliminate as much pollen, dust and particles from the air helps us breathe better. But it’s easy to forget that the air ducts themselves have dips, pockets, and grooves that trap dirt and debris. Having these cleaned regularly not only makes the filters more efficient, but last longer.
As for your dryer vents, they need cleaning for several reasons. First the dust that makes it out of the vents can be so fine that you can’t see it. However, you are breathing it as it blows around. Secondly, the lint in a dryer is one of the most flammable materials in your home. The boy scouts even recommend it to carry as a great fire starter when camping so that should tell you something about how easily it will catch on fire!
Because homes these days have more dryers than fireplaces, fires from clogged dryer vents are more common than from fireplaces. Even when you regularly clean the lint filter, other lint gathers in the vent hose between the dryer and the outside vent. Eventually, the lint particles cling to the wall and then to each other until you have a blockage. This keeps the heat from venting out to the atmosphere and the lint eventually gets so hot it catches on fire and spreads extremely quickly throughout the length of the vent hose.
Is the dryer taking several cycles to dry clothes? Is the lint trap not very full after each load? If either of these is happening, there may be some blockage somewhere that is not only limiting your dryer’s performance, but could be potentially combustible!
Don’t leave your family’s safety (or dry clothes) to chance. Contact us today to make a vent cleaning appointment and/or ask us any questions you may have. We are always happy to help!