Chimneys are the best way to vent the smoke from your fireplace, but in order for them to do their job, they need to be serviceable. Your chimney is the main method that soot, smoke, ash, and other toxins are shuttled away from your home and funneled outside. Just like any other appliance or physical element in your home, it needs proper care and maintenance. If you are not sure when or how to service your chimney, we have some suggestions to help you get started.
It is important to have your chimney inspected at least once per year. The best time to inspect it is during the early fall, or at the end of the summer. Those who use their chimney more often can have it inspected twice a year just ahead of a high usage season. Following the inspection, most homeowners schedule a cleaning by a chimney sweep. This ensures that the venting systems are clean and free from blockages or buildup. Regular cleanings can also prevent the need for costly repairs due to chimney fires or other preventable issues.
A chimney sweep will get rid of blockages, built-up creosote, and soot from all areas of your chimney. They will also inspect your chimney for damage, cracks, or other problems that can negatively affect how well it performs. It is important to clean and maintain your chimney in order for your heating system to operate safely. Creosote glazing especially needs to be removed on a regular basis. This highly flammable buildup can lead to fire or worse.
For homes that only use their stove or fireplace occasionally, annual inspections and cleanings twice a year are usually enough. If you use them more often, inspections should occur once or twice a year. It is a good idea to have the furnace flues, stove systems, heating venting systems, and chimneys cleaned once per season or once every four months. This will ensure that there is no dangerous build-up and that your system remains clear and in proper working order.
The best time to clean or service your chimney will depend on the typical burning season in your area. Mid-spring or even early fall is ideal because it is close enough to the time that you will use your fireplace, but far enough away that you have time to fix any problems.