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Why Your Chimney Needs Cleaned, And How Often You Should Do It

The Atlanta area is known for its temperate weather year round, where temperatures seldom dip below freezing in the winter time. However, on those chilly winter nights, it’s nice to be able to light up a warm, glowing fire in the family room fireplace. But wait – when was the last time you used your fireplace? When was the last time your chimney was cleaned? Is it safe to use if it has been a couple years? Many people assume that a fireplace that is used infrequently is safe to use at any time, since there has not been much opportunity for soot build up in the chimney. However, there are several hazards outside of soot that can threaten your safety if left unaddressed.

Creosote

If you’ve recently moved into a home and haven’t had your chimney inspected or cleaned yet, creosote is one of the main reasons you should schedule a cleaning.  Creosote is a dangerous wood byproduct that results from incomplete combustion of the oils in burning wood. It develops in stages, starting off as a flaky residue and ultimately ending as a thick, tar-like substance. As it builds up in your chimney, it further constricts airflow, which allows the layers to get thicker and thicker. Through its chemical presence, it is a fire hazard, a skin and eye irritant, and, as recent studies have shown, even a carcinogen. A professional chimney cleaning is the best way to ensure the proper removal of creosote.

Nests And Critters

While a chimney is engineered to let smoke out, the same mechanisms can let things from the outside in. That’s right: birds, squirrels, and other critters can sometimes sneak in and take residence in your chimney.
These creatures can cause serious damage to the masonry of your chimney. Additionally, your fireplace is unsafe to use while critter debris remains within it, as nest material is flammable and can pose a fire hazard. Schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning to make sure your chimney is thoroughly cleaned of any animals and nests.

Chimney Damage

Due to weather or age, chimneys can develop cracks in the masonry over time. This is why it’s critical to schedule regular inspections and cleanings of your chimney, regardless of when you last used your fireplace. Cracks in your chimney can lead to accumulation of moisture, structural shifts in the chimney, or even cracks in the joints. When not addressed, major cracks can even lead to the collapse of your chimney.

How Often Do I Need My Chimney Cleaned?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Standard 211, “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.” This is a good rule of thumb to follow, regardless of your geography. A professional will give you the peace of mind so you can relax and enjoy your fireplace with your family without worry.

When you’re ready to schedule your next chimney sweep cleaning, call Serv R Us at (678) 253-7980. We’re proud to service all of Metro Atlanta, including Alpharetta, Norcross, Duluth, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs.

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