If you own a fireplace, you probably have heard how important it is to have this fireplace inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. Do you know why this is such a big deal? For some people, it’s not really important to know the whats and whys, but for others, it may be very important to know what it is that a chimney inspector or sweep is looking for when he comes in to look over the chimney and fireplace. If you’ve ever wondered exactly what it is that they’ll be looking for, read on!
If you have a wood-burning or pellet-burning heating appliance, your chimney will have a buildup of creosote lining the interior of your chimney. When you burn wood, there will be some moisture released, no matter how dry the wood is. This moisture, along with various chemicals, is released through the combustion process in the form of smoke. As the warm smoke rises it hits the cold interior of your chimney, especially near the top, where it condenses and forms a layer of black or brown, gummy or flaky, dull or shiny gunk called creosote. Creosote smells pretty bad, and the odor can actually permeate the furniture, the drapes, or the carpet of your home. Even worse, it’s very flammable, and a buildup of even as little as an eighth of an inch is enough to catch a spark and cause a chimney fire. When you call the highly qualified, CSIA certified chimney sweeps from Chim Cheroo Chimney Service Inc, one thing that we’ll be on the lookout for is creosote buildup.
Another thing we’ll be on the lookout for is blockages in your chimney. There are several ways that your chimney can get a blockage. For example, your chimney makes the perfect place for animals to hide out. When birds, squirrels, even raccoons are looking for a place to raise a family, they’ll be looking for a warm, dry place that’s out of the way of winds and precipitation and predators. Your chimney is the perfect place. Trouble is, when these animals leave, they leave behind their nests and those nests can cause blockages. Also, the wind can blow-dried twigs and leaves or loose paper into your chimney and that can also cause a blockage to occur. These blockages can also catch a spark, causing a damaging chimney fire.
Although fire damage would be the major worry when it comes to both creosote buildup and blockages, both of these could also cause a restriction of the airflow into and out of your chimney. This can cause your fire to burn less efficiently, smoke to not escape out of the chimney as it should, and chemicals such as carbon monoxide to seep back into your home.
Cracked Chimney Liner
We’ll also be looking at the condition of your chimney liner. A chimney liner does exactly what the name says: it lines chimneys. It actually serves three functions. First, a properly fitted liner can help your fireplace system run more efficiently. Second, a chimney liner will protect any combustible items that are close to your fireplace from igniting from the heat of the fire you have burning. Third, it plays an important role of protecting your brick and mortar chimney from the corrosive effects of the smoke and chemicals that are released during the combustion process. If there are any cracks or dings in your chimney liner, it could mean that your fireplace is being damaged and also that the smoke that should be directed out of your chimney may be sneaking into your home. Chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, and even carbon monoxide may be carried in on that smoke, and that means that your family’s health might be affected.
Pilot Light Issues
If you have a gas fireplace, it means that you have some kind of a pilot light. If your fireplace won’t ignite, it could easily be that your pilot light isn’t lit. All you need to do is open the vent and see if there is a tiny flame. If there’s no flame, that means that your pilot light has gone out and that it needs to be relit. Just follow your manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Anytime that you work with gas, special caution is recommended. You might also have an old or improperly installed thermocoupler.
There are many issues that could be going on with your burning appliance, whether it’s gas, wood-burning, or pellet-burning. No matter what the issue that you might be having, you can count on Chim Cheroo Chimney Service Inc to be able to offer solutions. We are Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified, which gives us access to the best training and education in the industry. For any of your heating appliance needs, give us a call soon. We’ll help you make 2020 a safe, healthy year for you and for your family.