No matter how regular and diligent you are in home maintenance, there will always be something that gets overlooked. Your chimney is one such thing that may not get maintained till you notice issues or problems. However, you must never ignore your chimney as an unkempt chimney can lead to severe complications and also fires. Hiring professional chimney inspection in Portland and scheduling regular maintenance will ensure your chimney has a long life.
Are Chimney Inspections Important?
Scheduling regular chimney inspections helps you identify any issues with your chimney. Typically, you must schedule at least one inspection every year, especially if you use the fireplace regularly, to ensure all your systems are working well. If left uninspected for long, an undiscovered defect can turn into an expensive repair or could lead to a chimney fire. Even if you don’t use your fireplace regularly, you must get it inspected annually to check all the heating venting systems, stove systems, chimneys, and furnace flues. The technicians can identify any potential defects and recommend repairs or restorations, even if cleaning is not required.
When Should You Schedule a Chimney Inspection?
As mentioned above, ideally, you should get your chimney inspected at least once a year. However, listed below are other times when you should get your chimney inspected:
- If you have not scheduled an inspection in a year or more.
- If you have any performance issues with the fireplace, chimney, or heating system.
- If you have recently bought a new home
- If you have changed or upgraded your heating systems or added a new insert or stove
- If you have not used your fireplace in a long time as this could lead to pest infestations in your chimney chamber or flue
Signs Your Chimney Needs Cleaning
Your chimney provides several signs that it requires cleaning. You will notice one or more of these signs when you schedule an inspection or when you use your fireplace:
- Your room will fill up with smoke every time you light the fireplace
- The fire will burn oddly
- The fireplace damper will be black
- You will have to put a lot of effort to keep the fire burning
- Your fireplace will smell like a campfire
Why Should You Regularly Clean Your Chimney
Your chimney sweep does the important job of removing blockages, soot, and built-up creosote from the chimney liner, smoke chamber, firebox, and damper. Cleaning the sweep regularly helps create a safer operation for your chimney system. If not cleaned regularly, even the smallest accumulation of creosote glazing can create a potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is a highly inflammable substance that builds up in your liner because of the burning wood. The rate of creosote accumulation can be higher if your burning stove or appliance is malfunctioning or if you follow poor burning practices. In addition, creosote could also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce its efficiency.
How to Check for Creosote in the Chimney?
You must ensure there is no downdraft from the chimney when checking for creosote. If there is any downward airflow, you can open a window or door on the same floor. Monitor the airflow till the downdraft reverses or stops. If you cannot tell which way the airflow is, you can tape tissues to the opening of the fireplace and check its movement. Once you know the downdraft has stopped, you can take a flashlight and a poker and scratch the surface above the fireplace’s damper. Ensure you are wearing a disposable dust mask and goggles. If the groove in the creosote is 1/8 inch thick, you will have to schedule a fireplace cleaning quickly. If the creosote is 1/4 inch or more, ensure you don’t light the fireplace till it is cleaned as it could cause a chimney fire.
How Often Should You Clean The Chimney
Typically, you will have to clean your chimney at least once a year. If you have wood-burning or oil fireplaces, you may need to clean the chimney two times a year, depending on how often you use it. Scheduling a chimney inspection will tell you if there are any issues in the chimney and also indicate when you can schedule a cleaning.
Best Practices to Maintain Your Chimney
While you must schedule regular inspections and chimney cleanings from professionals, below are a few tips to help maintain your chimney all-year round:
- Ensure your firebox is clean
- Keep your damper open before using the fireplace
- Invest in a chimney crown or cap to prevent dust and debris from entering your home
- If possible, use a stainless steel liner for your chimney to keep it up to code
Hire Professionals to Clean Your Chimney
While it can be tempting to inspect and clean your chimney yourself, you must avoid doing so, as there are several risks and health hazards involved. You can hire professionals like Willard Power Vac to inspect and clean your chimney instead. They are a certified fireplace and chimney cleaning service that can help you with inspections and cleaning. Their highly trained and experienced team will carefully inspect your chimney, eliminate any harmful creosote buildup, and protect your chimney from future problems.