Annual Chimney Cleaning and Inspection This Fall
Fall is a beautiful time of year in the Hudson Valley. The dazzling colors of fall foliage on display will tickle your senses. But the warm days and crisp evenings during this time of year is also a gentle reminder that colder weather is on the way. After all, fall is not only your last chance to enjoy the great outdoors; it’s also your last chance to have your chimney inspected and cleaned before you light the fireplace or wood stove for the first cold snap of the season within the next few weeks.
Annual Chimney Inspection
Throughout the year, your chimney is exposed to a variety of weather conditions. But our winter weather can be extremely harsh on the masonry, especially on older chimneys. The brick and mortar slowly absorb the moisture from the rain and snow like a sponge. And as temperatures dip below freezing, the absorbed moisture crystallizes, causing cracks in the brick surface as it expands. And without intervention, these small cracks will continue to worsen. Not only will the bricks begin to break into small pieces, but gaps in the mortar joints can also cause entire bricks to loosen and fall off the chimney. Cracks and missing bricks will not only allow water to deteriorate the interior masonry and components, but it also destabilizes the structure and increases the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, and even an entire collapse.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends homeowners have an annual chimney inspection. During the inspection, a Certified Chimney Sweep® will visually inspect all accessible areas of the structure looking for signs of spalling bricks, water intrusion, and other abnormalities that will interfere with its ability to safely and efficiently vent smoke, fumes, and other contaminants. The technician will provide the homeowner with a detailed inspection report that includes the chimney condition and any necessary repairs to keep your home and family safe. The technician will also advise if cleaning is recommended before using the fireplace or wood stove.
A Clean Chimney is a Safe Chimney
If it’s been a while since your last professional cleaning, you may be surprised about the amount of creosote, soot, and other stains inside your chimney. Since excessive creosote is the primary cause of all residential structure fires, the CSIA recommends chimney cleaning when there is an accumulation of 1/8″ or more of creosote. This sticky, tarry substance is highly flammable in large amounts. The high temperatures or hot embers of a roaring flame is all it takes to ignite a fire in the chimney. A chimney fire can quickly engulf an entire home in minutes. Creosote is also present in gas-burning fireplaces and stoves.
To ensure that creosote is adequately removed, it is highly recommended homeowners hire a Certified Chimney Sweep®. The technician has the professional tools and equipment to thoroughly clean the chimney, leaving it free of creosote, soot, dirt, and any other residue. Any obstructions in the flue like bird’s nests, pests, and leaves and twigs will also be removed.
You may not be thinking about your fireplace or wood stove during our beautiful fall weather. But as the weather turns colder, Hudson Valley Chimney and other qualified providers are in high demand for service. Schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning now so your chimney and fireplace will be ready when cold weather arrives.