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With temperatures falling and winter just around the corner, many of us are preparing for a busy fireplace burning season. If you haven’t had your chimney swept or inspected yet this fall, there’s still time for a fall chimney cleaning before the cold weather arrives!

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Chimney?

According to the CSIA, or Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimneys should “be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.” These annual chimney cleanings ensure that your fireplace can burn safely and efficiently. In addition, regular maintenance helps extend the life of your fireplace system by minimizing damage and deterioration for use.

If you use your fireplace or stove as a primary heating source, it may need to be swept more often. Chimneys should be swept any time there is an accumulation of 1/8th of an inch of soot. This typically occurs after one cord of wood has been burned. If you burn more than one cord of wood during a single burning season, consider scheduling a mid-winter sweeping in addition to your fall maintenance.

The Importance of Annual Maintenance

Annual maintenance, including chimney cleanings and inspections, keeps your fireplace burning safely and efficiently. Creosote, a highly flammable byproduct of fuel burning fires, can build up in your flue over time. Also, if your chimney is not regularly swept, the presence of creosote increases your risk of chimney fire. Likewise, having your chimney cleaned also ensures there are no animal nests, fallen leaves, or other kinds of debris in your flue.

In addition to reducing the risk of chimney fire, regular chimney sweepings also help you get the most “bang for your buck” by improving fireplace efficiency. A clean chimney is able to burn better because there is no buildup or debris blocking drafting. This can also help eliminate any odors caused by creosote buildup or the presence of animal nesting materials.

Why a Chimney Inspection is Important

A chimney sweeping removes soot, ash, and creosote from your fireplace and flue. However, a chimney inspection can find areas or damage or deterioration that may cause burning problems.

According to an article in BarbsHomeOnline, “A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” says Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the CSIA. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.”

Many chimney problems start out small and progressively get worse over time. So, identifying areas of damage or deterioration when they first occur is important. It keeps your chimney in good condition. Likewise, chimney inspections are an important diagnostic tool. This is because they search for the root cause of long term chimney issues such as leaks, animal entry, or drafting problems.

Don’t delay – schedule your chimney cleaning today!

With winter just around the corner, now is the perfect time to have your annual chimney maintenance and cleaning done! If you live in the metro Baltimore area, contact ChimneyTEK today to schedule your fall chimney cleaning. Our expert staff of chimney technicians can have your fireplace and chimney swept, inspected, and ready for use this winter.