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Reasons You Need a Clean Chimney

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People love fireplaces. After all, few things can compare with the toasty comfort of a roaring blaze on a chilly night. But a fireplace can also be the source of danger. There are reasons you need a clean chimney. Each year, fire prevention experts say, lives are tragically lost and millions of dollars in property damage sustained due to chimney fires could have been prevented had the homeowner adhered to a simple maintenance routine.

That routine, the experts say, should include regular chimney cleaning. The importance of a chimney cannot be underestimated: the chimney and the flue inside it are responsible for carrying the smoke away from the fireplace and out of the house. The benefits of a clean chimney are twofold: it helps the fireplace function efficiently and it prevents the buildup of flammable creosote.

A Clean Chimney is Safer

One of the byproducts of that crackling fire homeowners so enjoy, creosote is carried by smoke into the chimney. Some of the creosote coats the walls of the chimney. If the creosote becomes too thick, it can catch fire. Chimney fires can quickly and silently spread to other parts of the home. Heavy creosote can also hinder the flow of carbon monoxide, a dangerous, odorless gas, through the chimney and outside the home. Carbon monoxide, as everyone knows, can be a silent killer.

A clean chimney will also ensure that your fireplace is operating at its most efficient, which will provide homeowners the most heat while also reducing the amount of smoke that gets into the house.

Now that you know the reasons you need a clean chimney, a logical question might be: How often should I clean my chimney?

Many experts advise having the chimney inspected and cleaned annually. There are also some warning signs homeowners should not ignore: a buildup of soot on the damper or chimney walls; smoke inside the home when fires are burned; a burning smell even when the fireplace isn’t being used.

Finally, homeowners might ask whether chimney cleaning is a do-it-yourself job or a task better left to professionals.

That’s up to the homeowner, of course. But beware: chimney cleaning is a dirty job that can require some climbing and heavy breathing. And besides keeping the chimney clean, a professional chimney cleaning company, typically called a chimney sweep, is also better qualified to detect potentially dangerous flaws that need repair.

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