Our fireplaces are sources of comfort and warmth, especially in the fall and winter. We spend time and money ensuring that the mantel is decorated and that the hearth is pretty – but how much do you think about the inside of the chimney? Each year, an estimated 24,300 unintentional house fires begin in the fireplace and chimney, causing millions of dollars in property damage. Additionally, blocked chimneys can cause carbon monoxide to back up into the home, sending people to the hospital for CO poisoning. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recognizes the last week of September as National Chimney Safety Week and encourages homeowners to call a licensed chimney sweeper to inspect and clean your chimney. This is a great fall maintenance task to check off your list.
Inspect and clean the chimney
A licensed professional doesn’t just sweep ashes out from the fireplace. They are trained to remove creosote build-up inside the chimney, look for nests or other animals who might have made your chimney their home and inspect the masonry of the interior and exterior. They can also check flues and connection points, ensuring that the heat is effectively going to the right place in the home and that smoke is exiting the home. Experts recommend having your chimney inspected every year, especially if you burn wood. When purchasing a new home, it’s a good idea to have a chimney expert inspect the fireplace before you start using it for the season.