Many homeowners tend to neglect the fact that their chimneys need to be inspected, cleaned, and maintained vigilantly in order to be free of hazards. This also helps prevent bad accidents from occurring. Ideally, chimneys are made to be air and moisture tight so that the products of combustion are exhausted directly to the outside of the house. But due to many factors such as temperature extremes, weather changes, corrosive gases, water or vapor, animal inhabitants (like birds and squirrels), creosote build-up, and faulty work or installation of the chimney, the likelihood of accidents can increase. Also effected are the efficiency and safety of your heating appliance(s), the chimney and of your home in general. This is precisely why it is of utmost importance to have an annual chimney inspection followed by a thorough chimney sweeping. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association states that chimneys should be inspected at least once a year and swept if necessary. If the chimneys are used more frequently, then inspection and sweeping should also be done more often.
Chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are among the dangers that threaten a home if the chimneys are not properly maintained. Creosote build-up, which is highly combustible, can start a chimney fire. Sparks may fly to the roof or heat may transfer to combustibles in the attic and ceiling, which could lead to a serious house fire. Blockages caused by the collapse of some parts of the chimney, bird’s nests, or other factors can inhibit the smooth exit of smoke and/or flue gases from the fireplace or other heating appliance. It can also cause carbon monoxide to circulate inside the house. All these things can happen in your home if you do not take action to ensure that your chimneys are safe and clean.
Having a Certified Chimney Sweep examine both the exterior and interior parts of the chimney can save you a great deal of money and effort (not to mention grief). The inspector will be checking the structure of the chimney as well as the flue and all the connections within. They will also make sure that the chimney does not have creosote or other combustible substances built up. They will also check for any type of obstruction. So be wise and never forget to have an annual chimney inspection.