The national fire protection association recommends that you hire a chimney sweep at least once a year to inspect and clean the fireplace. While this is the case, you don’t have to wait for a whole year to do it. Hire a professional if you notice an issue with your fireplace. The instances when you should hire the expert include:
When there are animals and birds in your chimney
If there are flapping, fluttering, squeaking, scratching, or scurrying noises inside the walls of your chimney, you might be hosting animals in your unit.
Birds are the most common to find in the chimney especially if you have gone for a long time without cleaning it. Birds nest in the chimney as it’s warmer. Chimneys also provide protection from predators.
Chimney swifts, the most common birds in fireplaces, build nests inside the flue liners. Other birds nest on top of the damper. Regardless of the type of birds in your fireplace, their nests limit the flow of gases which can lead to chimney fires.
The limited flow of gases also puts you and your family at the risk of intoxication.
To get rid of the birds, contact the animal prevention department in your area. After removing the birds, the chimney contractor should then install a chimney cap or cover to prevent other birds from getting in.
When creosote has buildup in the chimney
Creosote is what remains after the wood has burned. It looks like harmless grease but when you allow it to accumulate over several months, it can be a serious fire hazard. There are three stages of creosote buildup:
1st degree: It forms when you have relatively good burning wood or high gas temperatures in the flue. Since the creosote deposition isn’t extensive, you can easily remove it using a chimney brush. If you have the skills you can remove it by yourself, but for peace of mind, have it removed by an expert.
2nd Degree: This one looks like shiny black flakes and it’s often larger than the soot in the first degree. Since it’s thicker and harder to scrub, it’s always recommended that you hire a professional to help you get rid of it.
3rd Degree: This is full-blown creosote accumulation. It results when your chimney isn’t allowing complete combustion. Creosote at this stage resembles tar coating. Since the creosote is extremely concentrated and hard to remove, don’t try to remove it by yourself as you won’t remove it as well as you should.
Hire an experienced expert who has handled similar creosote problems in the past.
When your chimney is smoking
It’s normal for the chimney to smoke, but the smoke shouldn’t get back into the house; therefore, if your chimney is returning smoke into the house, you have a problem that should be addressed by a chimney expert.
Smoke can return into the house due to many reasons:
Chimney blockage: If your chimney has blocked due to bird’s nests, creosote build-up, or debris and twigs, hire a certified chimney cleaning services provider to inspect the chimney and safely get rid of the blockage.
For you to avoid dangerous smoke buildup and prevent chimney fires, make a habit of undertaking annual chimney cleanups.
Poorly designed chimney: When you hire an inexperienced chimney contractor, he/she is bound to improperly design the chimney. The chimney will have smoking problems if it’s too short. An experienced chimney expert will be able to tell when the chimney is poorly designed and come up with a way of fixing it.
Experienced chimney contractors can make modifications to the chimney. If the damage is extensive, they may simply have to bring down the chimney.
Burning the wrong wood: Finally, your chimney will smoke if you are burning wet, unseasoned wood. In addition to the wood producing a lot of smoke, it’s also frustrating to light.
For you to reduce the amount of smoke produced by the wood, only burn seasoned hardwood. The wood should have airdried for at least six months. In addition to the wood reducing the amount of smoke in your chimney, it also reduces the amount of creosote that forms in the chimney. It has also been shown to reduce the need for chimney repair Annapolis.
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