Chimney Cleaning is dangerous and requires climbing ladders and working on roofs. This is why hiring a professional Chimney Cleaning Charleston with the right credentials is important.
Chimneys that are not regularly swept can suffer from serious problems like chimney fires. These are highly dangerous and can cause expensive and extensive damage to the house.
Soot is a dusty, smudgy smoke residue that accumulates in layers over time and reduces airflow inside your fireplace chimney and flue. It contains toxins, harmful chemicals, debris, and tiny metal particles that can easily travel through your home and cause health problems, including lung and respiratory issues.
Every fireplace generates soot as a byproduct of burning wood. However, if you don’t clean your chimney regularly, this can lead to serious problems, including fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and a variety of other hazards.
Chimney sweeps use a special brush, rod, and vacuum cleaner to remove soot from chimney walls. They also wear safety masks and goggles to protect themselves from the dust. To minimize the soot that goes into your house, prepare for a chimney cleaning by moving furniture away from the fireplace and covering floors with plastic or drop cloths. Chimney sweeps may also encounter unwelcome guests, such as dead birds, tools, love letters, or other ephemera during a chimney cleaning.
Creosote is another dangerous byproduct of improper chimney combustion. It’s a highly flammable substance that can be in the form of flakes, tar, or a gooey layer. When it dries, it’s like a hard glaze that sticks to chimney walls.
The CSIA recommends cleaning a chimney when creosote is more than 1/8 inch thick. If you don’t schedule regular chimney sweep appointments, creosote can build up to the point where it blocks the chimney’s flow. If left alone, a chimney fire can destroy your home and lead to severe injuries and even death.
The smoke from wood burning fires contains gasses, water and other particles that burn together to create a flammable compound called creosote. This compound is extremely flammable and can cause chimney fires that can damage the chimney or even engulf the home. Chimneys with heavy creosote buildup are also at a higher risk of leaking toxic gases into the home.
Creosote comes in three different stages and each stage poses a greater threat. The first stage, which is considered light creosote, looks like powdery soot and can be removed easily by a professional during a chimney cleaning. It is very important to maintain proper wood-burning fire practices to avoid heavy creosote buildup.
Stage two creosote is more of a concern as it restricts the flue pipe. It can be difficult to remove with a basic brush and will require more specialized tools. This stage can be spotted by noticing a downdraft from the fireplace that moves towards the floor of the room.
Chimney sweeps will use a creosote removal product to break up the hardened tar-like residue. Once the creosote is loosened it can be brushed away with a wire chimney brush. During this process, the chimney sweep may also utilize a special tool that allows them to pull the creosote from the walls of the chimney.
Heavy creosote buildup can be a result of improperly burning firewood that contains too much moisture. This can cause a fire to smolder rather than burning completely, which can result in insufficient airflow in the fireplace. Another common reason for creosote is a stove that has a larger flue collar than the chimney can accommodate. This can cause a slow drafting of the smoke into the chimney and also increase the time that the smoke spends in the chimney.
Many people enjoy using a fireplace to gather around and share a fire with friends or family. While this is a wonderful way to make your home cozy, it’s important that you keep up with cleaning and maintenance of the chimney so that it works safely. Keeping the chimney clean and free of creosote, debris and other obstructions is crucial to ensure that toxic fumes like carbon monoxide don’t enter the home.
One sign that you should schedule a chimney sweep is if you notice flammable debris falling down inside your firebox. This could include ash, wood chips and parts of logs that haven’t burned completely. It may also be the result of an obstructed flue that prevents smoke and gases from flowing properly.
Chimney sweeps will use specialized tools to remove the flammable materials from your chimney. They’ll scrape the lining of your chimney, as well as brush and vacuum away any residue left behind. They’ll also remove any obstructed passageways inside the flue that can prevent air from reaching the fire.
A chimney sweep will usually start by going up on the roof to examine the structure for any problems. Then they’ll move down into the fireplace to scrape and wash away the creosote coating, which can build up on the walls and liner over time. Depending on how much you use your fireplace, the chimney may need to be cleaned more or less frequently.
A good chimney sweep will also remove drafting obstructions, which can include leaves, twigs and small animal nests. These can narrow the flue and prevent smoke, gases and carbon monoxide from escaping your fireplace. It’s important that you prepare for the chimney sweep to arrive by moving any flammable furniture a few feet away from the fireplace and covering it with plastic or a drop cloth.
While it’s possible for a homeowner to clean his or her own chimney, this is one of those tasks that’s best left to professionals. A person who attempts to clean a chimney himself or herself faces several hazards, even if he or she is comfortable using ladders and standing on the roof. Creosote and other debris can fall on the roof, damaging shingles or creating a messy stain. During chimney cleaning, a person may also accidentally obstruct the flow of smoke into and out of the fireplace, which can be dangerous to both people and pets.
The chimney must be inspected before it’s cleaned, and a professional has the experience and tools to spot early signs of damage to the flue lining and to other parts of the chimney system. A chimney that’s not structurally sound can leak deadly carbon monoxide into the house.
Chimney fires are extremely dangerous and can destroy a house. They start with snaps and pops that sound like gunshots, then progress to a deep rumbling sound as oily, flaming creosote rains down into the firebox.
While a chimney fire can cause serious damage to the chimney, it can also spread to the entire house, burning walls and causing water leaks. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires that chimneys and fireplaces be inspected annually for safety, freedom from deposits and proper clearances.
A Level 1 inspection is a visual check of a fireplace and chimney for signs of dangerous deposits and structural integrity. A Level 2 inspection is a more thorough examination that includes a video camera to check for hidden problems. A Level 3 inspection is done when structural damage or other serious problems are suspected.
Chimneys that have not been cleaned in a long time are prone to cracking. This can cause smoke to escape into the living spaces of the house and it may also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. It is therefore necessary to hire chimney sweeps to clean the chimney on a regular basis. However, it is advisable to check the credentials of these professionals before hiring them for the job. For example, they should have a CSIA certification as well as business liability insurance to ensure the safety of the house.
Besides the chimney itself, homeowners should pay special attention to the fireplace doors and other parts of the fireplace. They should make sure that the fire extinguisher is kept close by in case there is a sudden fire outbreak. Also, a chimney cap should be placed on the top of the chimney to prevent ash and other debris from falling into the fireplace or into combustible areas of the house.
When hiring a chimney cleaning service, make sure they are insured. It will protect you from any accidents that may occur during the chimney sweeping process. Moreover, it is recommended that you choose a company that offers chimney sweeping and inspection services together as it will save you money. Additionally, look for a company that has an established presence in your area.
As the winter months approach, homeowners should start preparing their fireplaces for use. It is a good idea to have chimneys, fireplaces and vents inspected and cleaned before using them for the first time this season. It will help to reduce unpleasant odors from the fireplace, minimize soot and creosote buildup, and avoid blockages that can lead to chimney fires.