Like most homeowners, you probably don’t think about your chimney until it’s time for a cleaning or repair. And even then, you might not know what to do. That’s why Portland’s top chimney sweeping service has put together this guide on chimney cleaning and repair – so you can be prepared before anything goes wrong. Keep reading to learn more!
Fireplaces are a focal point in most living rooms. It’s where families gather to spend time together, share stories, and make memories. But if your chimney isn’t properly maintained, it can be a fire hazard. So, let’s start with the basics of chimney cleaning and repair.
Why Do You Need To Clean Your Chimney?
Well, it all has to do with the byproducts of combustion. When you burn wood in your fireplace, the resulting smoke contains a variety of gases and particles. These include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor, hydrocarbons, and soot.
Over time, these accumulated deposits can cause all sorts of problems. They can create blockages that prevent the free flow of exhaust gases. They can also contribute to the deterioration of your chimney structure.
In extreme cases, these deposits can even lead to fires. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), America experiences an average of 24,300 chimney fires each year.
So, it’s important to keep your chimney clean to avoid any of these potential problems.
Here are the most common reasons for chimney cleaning:
Creosote – Creosote is a carcinogenic substance that forms when wood smoke deposits on the surfaces of your chimney. It’s black or brown and can be flaky, crusty, or tar-like.
If you have a lot of creosote buildup, it can restrict the flow of exhaust gases and cause a dangerous chimney fire.
Animals – Animals like owls, sparrows, and raccoons often reside in chimneys. Not only can they cause a nuisance, but they can also build nests that block the flue and create fire hazards.
Chimney flue buildup – Over time, soot and creosote can build up in your chimney flue and restrict the flow of exhaust gases. On the other hand, a cracked flue liner can allow dangerous gases like carbon monoxide into your home.
Dirty damper – The damper is a metal plate that opens and closes to allow air into the fireplace. If it’s dirty, it won’t close properly and will cause heat to escape from your home.
How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney?
This depends on a few factors, including fuel and how often you use your fireplace. However, chimney pros recommend getting your chimney cleaned at least once a year. If you burn hardwoods like oak or maple, you’ll need to clean your chimney more frequently than if you burn softwoods like pine. This is because hardwoods produce more soot and creosote.
Similarly, burning wood that hasn’t been seasoned properly can also lead to excess soot and creosote buildup. Seasoned wood is typically dried for six to 12 months.
Why Should You Hire a Chimney Sweep Service?
If you’re one of those rugged types that enjoys a good do-it-yourself project, you might wonder if you can clean your chimney. After all, it doesn’t seem like a particularly complicated task.
However, there are a few good reasons to leave chimney cleaning to the professionals. The following are some things to consider:
Safety – It’s important to remember that cleaning your chimney is a dirty and potentially dangerous job. There’s a risk of falling from the roof, being injured by falling debris, or inhaling harmful fumes.
Inspection and identification – An experienced chimney sweep will be able to inspect your chimney and identify any potential problems. They can also offer advice on the best way to solve those problems.
Repair work – If they find any damage, a professional chimney sweep can do the necessary repair work. For instance, a cracked flue liner will need to be replaced.
Chimney Sweeping Costs – What Should You Expect?
Chimney sweeping services, on average, will cost between $75 to $250. However, the costs can be much higher if your chimney needs more than general inspection and cleaning. For example, if your flue liner is cracked or damaged, it must be replaced.
Overall, keeping your chimney clean is important to avoid any potential problems. Creosote buildup, animal nests, and dirty dampers can all lead to dangerous situations. Hiring a professional chimney sweep service is best to clean your chimney properly. Chimney sweeping services typically cost between $75 and $250.