How Often Should You Get Your Chimney Swept and Why?

February 4, 2016

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We at Atlanta Chimney Doctor, LLC, know that a fireplace is an inexpensive and easy alternative to a space heater or heating system. The fire can supply warmth to one room or the entire house. However, the regular use of your fireplace can, over time, create a number of issues that could prove detrimental to your home if left untreated. It is important to know how and why you should get a chimney sweep in Atlanta, GA, or your area.

Creosote

Creosote buildup is one of the most common fireplace-related problems. When wood burns, it releases gases that intermingle with the cool air inside the vent. This forms a black and sticky residue that lines the walls inside the chimney. Increasing accumulation of this substance can narrow the vent passage, which can lead to trapped fumes spilling into your home, corrosion of the inner walls, or even spontaneously set your flue on fire.

Animal Nests

Birds, bats, and other animals have been known to make nests around the mouth of or inside the flue, finding it perfect for their young to thrive because it’s isolated from predators and its warmth is ideal during the colder months. The nests prevent the proper flow of gasses out of the flue and the animals nesting there could be carriers of dangerous diseases.

Misaligned and Deteriorating Flue Liners

It wasn’t an uncommon practice in the original construction of fireplaces to incorrectly align the flue liners. Builders would also disregard sealing the liners with the proper refractory mortar, instead using the mortar required to lay brick, block, or stone. The two kinds of mortar aren’t interchangeable as standard mortar has no refractory properties and cannot tolerate the chemical properties inside the flue. Standard mortar deteriorates and can leave dangerous openings between the liners.

The National Safety Standard

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an inspection of all fireplaces, chimneys, and vents should be conducted at least once a year and, if the results show any of the problems listed above, a routine cleaning would follow. It’s advised by the Chimney Safety Institute of America that open masonry fireplaces should be cleaned when 1/8″ of soot has built up along the insides. For factory-built fireplaces, cleaning should occur whenever evidence of creosote is present since a considerable amount could ignite a flue fire that may spread into your home.

 

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