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All You Need to Know about Chimney Sweep How Often
Before the cool winds and icy temperatures of winter lure you to romantic evenings in front of a fire place you will want to be sure that everything is in working conditions. According to the National Fire Association, most heating fires are caused by chimneys and flues that are not regularly repaired and maintained.
While some DIY enthusiasts will be raring to scurry up the smoke stack, this is not typically a job to be done without some experience and skill. This is because there is a lot more to keeping a chimney clean and functioning than merely sweeping up soot and ashes.
Regular Inspections and chimney sweep how often?
A properly functioning fireplace should be inspected once every year. Those newly installed fireplaces are prone to possible malfunctions and should be inspected throughout the year to ensure that the heating system will be working when the cold weather sets in.
The chimney sweep should be called in for a regular inspection and service at least once a year but preferably as often as the situation calls for. A rule of thumb is to wait for a full 1/8-inch of deposits to build up across the chimney before calling in the cleaners. If yours is a fireplace not used very often, the annual inspection will reveal the best times for another sweep
Chimneys in colder climates where the temperatures require year-round operations may require more than one cleaning in a year.
Why does the chimney need to be inspected and cleaned?
The combustion occurring in the fireplace releases an acidic substance that can begin to compromise the integrity of the masonry. This can cause deterioration and even collapse of building materials if allowed to degrade unchecked.
Creosote can also accumulate as well, this is a result of incomplete combustion and convection carrying deposits higher into the chimney. Once sufficient quantities have accumulated, creosote can suddenly catch fire and potentially spread to other parts of the home.
Chimneys that are used infrequently make potential habitats for birds, squirrels, opossums, raccoons and other animal friends looking to escape the elements. These critters can carry in combustible nesting materials like twigs, leaves, bits of cloth and cardboard.
If animals can get in, there is also a good chance that strong winds and heavy rains can also find a way in to deteriorate the conditions of your chimney. Rain caps are an essential part of keeping the chimney in excellent conditions.
What is included in a professional chimney cleaning?
A professional cleaning service should cover all the needed chimney cleaning tasks, this includes:
-Sweeping out the fire place
-Checking the conditions of the firebox
-Inspecting and cleaning the flue, liners, chimney exterior and the overall system for optimal function.
Your chimney sweep and inspector should also make recommendations for further maintenance and care of your fireplace and chimney.
Some services provide a video inspection for an extra cost. This is not always necessary but a good idea if the chimney has not been used for a long time or is especially complex.
Chimney sweep how often and how much should it cost?
Once you complete inspections you will have a good idea of your chimney sweep how often it needs to be cleaned. Your basic cleaning service with none of the bells and whistles will cost around $100. If your chimney requires special services of inspection the cost may rise as high as $300. Sometimes portions may need to be repaired or deceased animals may have to be removed. Some fees may be removed from the overall charge if a full cleaning or repairs work is needed.
Ways to Reduce the Cost of Chimney Cleaning Services
Regular cleaning and inspections will reduce most of the wear and tear that can require expensive repair work. While the best idea is to have a professional handle this work, here are a few things that a homeowner can do to keep their chimney in good conditions.
- Clean out ashes after use
- Gather wood a year ahead of time to allow wood to season making it a better fuel.
- Make sure the damper is open before lighting a fire
- Burn wood that is clean and dry, dirty wet wood builds up more substances in the chimney
- Only burn fuel intended for use in a fireplace, burning garbage or cooking foods can increase the need for regular cleanings.