7 Reasons to have a Chimney Cleaning & Inspection even after those Mild Winters
No one wants to spend money unnecessarily, which is why homeowners often wonder if chimney cleaning and inspection is needed after mild winters. Even when fireplaces and wood stoves are infrequently used, experts say, yes, annual inspections are highly recommended.
There are several reasons to schedule a chimney inspection after mild winters, including the following:
1 – The amount of creosote may still be significant
Creosote is a highly flammable substance deposited in chimney flues whenever there is a wood-burning fire in a fireplace or stove. Fewer fires aren’t necessarily an indication there is less creosote deposited in the chimney. Fires during icy winters are typically very hot, creating more complete combustion and less combustion byproducts. Fires that are built for milder temperatures aren’t usually as hot, which means they are less efficient and produce more creosote, especially if left to smolder.
If unseasoned, meaning green or wet wood, is burned, a much greater amount of sticky creosote is left in the flue. Other burning practices that are not recommended can also increase creosote buildup, such as burning cardboard.
2 – Creosote left to dry in summer is more dangerous
Having the chimney cleaned in spring after a mild winter means the threat of a chimney fire is reduced. With creosote left in the chimney during hot, humid summer months, the tar-like substance changes into a form that is more conducive to causing a chimney fire. The second and third stages of creosote also mean that a chimney fire would be much more persistent, able to do more damage to the flue.
3 – Avoid starting off the winter with creosote in the chimney
It’s possible that if you don’t have a chimney cleaning after a mild winter, the creosote that is left will quickly build into a dangerous level by the middle of the following winter. The more creosote there is, the larger the threat of a dangerous chimney fire.
4 – Chimney fires usually start in dirty chimneys
Chimney fires are extremely dangerous, and there are thousands in U.S. homes every year. A dirty lining is the leading cause of chimney fires. The temperature inside the chimney can exceed 2000 degrees, when a chimney fire occurs. There should always be a chimney inspection after a chimney fire, since these intense blazes often damage chimney liners and other components of the chimney system.
5 – There may be obstructions in the flue
During wintertime, the chimney can become partially obstructed for various reasons. Storms can blow debris into the chimney, and a deteriorating chimney and/or liner can cause bits of debris to obstruct the chimney lining. Sometimes those obstructions can be the cause of a chimney fire. In all instances, obstructions can cause toxic fumes from the chimney to enter the home, since they are unable to properly exit through the chimney. During an inspection, such debris is discovered. With a chimney cleaning, obstructions are removed.
6 – Moisture damage could be occurring
Moisture is another primary reason chimneys aren’t maintenance-free. There are many different ways that moisture can enter the chimney system and cause damage leading to the need for costly repairs. During even the mildest of winters, damage on the chimney exterior could be occurring. Chimney leaks can occur because of problems with chimney flashing, masonry, mortar, chimney caps, chimney crowns, and more. It’s important to catch moisture damage early, to reduce damage.
7 – To ensure clean air in the home
Substances left in a chimney after there have been wood-burning fires are toxic and can enter the air breathed in the home. It has been known for hundreds of years that over-exposure to such substances has caused chimney sweeps to suffer from serious health problems. By having your chimney cleaned, you ensure that your family is not exposed to those toxins.
The recommendation of having an annual chimney inspection, as made by such experts as the National Fire Protection Association, is not qualified by a description of the preceding winter. Contact our chimney professionals today to schedule your annual chimney cleaning and/or inspection after a mild winter or a freezing cold winter.