Summer and even fall weather brings a season of celebration here in Minnesota. But while your sweaters and coats have been put away, we hope you’ve still been thinking about your fireplace.
Warm weather days offer the perfect time to make sure your chimney and fireplace are winter-ready, because we all know Mother Nature is always waiting right around the corner!
In this post from The Construction Group, our chimney repair pros are breaking down everything you need to know about chimney cleaning.
Why Is Chimney Cleaning Important?
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is to fire up their hearth without having their chimney cleaned from one year to the next.
According to air quality experts, chimney fires are responsible for about $125 million in annual property damage with around 25,000 fires per year starting in chimneys. Most of those fires are caused by a buildup of creosote, which, combined with structural problems in the chimney masonry, can lead to a house fire.
Creosote is a natural byproduct created through the process of burning wood that builds up on the insides of a chimney. When the smoke from a wood burning fire passes through your chimney, creosote condenses along the inner surface.
This sticky, highly flammable chemical has a tar-like appearance. As little as ⅛” of soot as well as any amount of visible creosote are indicators that your chimney is due for a cleaning.
What Happens During a Chimney Cleaning?
After you decide about the chimney cleaning service for your home, there are things that should form your expectations when the job starts. Quite often, you will get a time when the job will begin and may be asked to put away some precious items in the home to avoid damage.
When your chimney cleaning contractor arrives, the first action they are likely to take is to survey your chimney area for broken chimney walls, the extent of dirt/soot in the chimney, and how they will protect your roof before the cleaning starts.
To protect the area of your roof where you have the chimney, they can lay some plastic sheet, rug or clothing material on your roof to trap the dust that would come out from the chimney during cleaning. For deeper cleaning, your chimney sweep may come with a shop-vac to help sweep the chimney away.
During cleaning, your chimney cleaning expert will use a heavy metal brush, thick hand glove, goggles and other protective gears to shield themselves from ash and soot. The cleaning process can start with scraping coating from the flue up to the roof or the other way round. However, whichever method is taken, the goal is to have a cleaning that pushes the chimney debris down into the fireplace, where they will be swept away.
Why You Should Hire an Expert for Chimney Cleaning
Although the process above may sound simple, hiring an expert to clean up your chimney is important. Highlighted below are the reasons you should clean your chimney.
Chimney cleaning goes beyond sticking a brush around your chimney to remove soot. That’s why you need an expert who understands the rudiments of deep chimney cleaning.
An expert knows better ways to remove stubborn coats from your chimney without messing up your home with soot and dust.
Hiring a chimney pro will save you lots of time. Proper chimney cleaning takes time to complete. It’s not a jump-in-jump-out affair and definitely not something you’d want to take the whole of your day.
There is a possibility that if you take up the chimney cleaning yourself, you may spend many hours without getting it properly done. But a professional will find a way to complete the job on time.
Access to Quality Tools
Professional chimney cleaners have access to quality tools that may take you time and more money to hire. Apart from having access to quality tools, they also know the best ways to handle those tools without getting injured.
So, chimney cleaning is best left in the hands of professionals who have been in the business for a longer time.
When to Schedule Chimney Cleaning Services
To prevent a chimney fire caused by creosote, the National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once per year.
While cleaning your chimney, inspectors will also examine your chimney for problems with the masonry and make recommendations for chimney repair.
Call a chimney inspector if you experience any of the following:
● A strong fireplace odor
● Flames anywhere suspicious
● Smoke inside your home
Once your chimney is ready to go, be careful to use the correct fuel to prevent future buildup and minimize your risk of a chimney fire. Only use well-seasoned wood that has been covered and stored off of the ground.
Additionally, avoid the temptation to burn newspapers, garbage, or treated wood of any kind.
What to Do About a Chimney Fire
If you hear crackling or popping sounds in your chimney or can identify flames coming out of the top, close the flue immediately and exit the premises before calling 911. Once everyone is safely outside, grab a garden hose and wet down your roof while you wait for firefighters to arrive on the scene.
Get 5-Star Chimney Cleaning Services in Minnesota
To schedule chimney repair services for your Minnesota home, be sure to call The Construction Group in Woodbury today at 651-731-5857. Or you can contact us online to find out more about our masonry services.