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Chimney Sweeping and Inspection

The job of the chimney sweep is to remove soot, blockages, and built up creosote from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper. This cleaning will create a safer chimney system during the heating operation. It takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney or liner as a result of burning wood. Different types of wood create different amounts of creosote when burned. Pine causes a rapid build-up of creosote and should be avoided as a regular source of wood. Creosote can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce efficiency. Creosote is the enemey and should be removed every year if you frequently use your chimney.

To be sure that all of your chimney systems are working properly, it is recommended that homeowners get a chimney inspection every year. Most homeowners decide to have a chimney cleaning done every year as well, especially if they use their fireplace on a regular basis. Other venting systems connected to furnaces and stoves should also be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain safer usage. Don?t risk the chance that an undiscovered defect could turn into an expensive repair or even a potential fire.

If you only have minimal use of your fireplace or stove, an inspection is still advised annually to look at all heating venting systems, chimneys, stove systems and furnace flues. During these inspections any defects or issues that may be found that require action even if cleaning is not needed. When you have a regular chimney sweep company that you use, they will generally put you on an annual inspection schedule. During these inspections they will advise you if it is time to sweep.

The National Fire Protection Association states, ?Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.? So, even if you don?t use your chimney a whole lot ? birds, squirrels, raccoons and other critters may have been using your chimney making it unsafe to use without clearing out the accumulated debris from nesting activity.

The best time to clean a chimney is before the start of the burning season, which is typicall late summer/early fall for most people. Before you think about building a fire or starting up your furnace because the weather has changed, is time to call your chimney sweeper. There are a number of companies that offer chimeny sweeping and inspection services and to get the best price you should contact a handful of contractors and compare quotes.

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