A reputable chimney sweep will inspect your fireplace and flue to see whether cleaning is needed. If it’s needed, they should lay down blankets or other protective material so the ashes and soot brought out during cleaning don’t get on your flooring or furniture.
A basic sweep, which includes an inspection for general safety, averages between $125 and $250, depending on the type of chimney you have and it’s condition. Expect to pay more if you have creosote buildup, dead or living animals in your chimney. It may require special equipment or chemicals to properly and thoroughly clean your chimney.
A thorough chimney and fireplace inspection include checking the liners, smoke chamber, chimney exterior, and firebox. The chimney inspection may detect structural problems that require repair. A video inspection may mean an additional cost, but it could detect water damage.
Fire safety officials recommended you get your chimney inspected and cleaned every year if your chimney is a major source of your winter heat or if you burn wood more than 30 fires a year. Regular inspection and cleaning also may save you from exorbitant repairs or fire damage in the long run.
Dirty Chimneys Are A Fire Hazard
Chimney flare-ups are primarily the result of built-up creosote, an extremely combustible residue buildup on chimney walls after burning wood.
A professional chimney cleaning will ensure that your chimney is clear of creosote or other obstructions that could catch fire or prevent the smoke and other gases from venting outdoors.
To help cut the amount of creosote, which emits a pungent smell if left untreated, always use dry wood to get efficient, complete burning.
Importance Of A Chimney Cap
While you may not be intimately familiar with the anatomy of your home’s fireplace or chimney features, a chimney cap plays an important role in your home’s chimney system. If your home doesn’t already have one, here are five reasons why you should consider installing a chimney cap.
1. Keep out animals
Animals like birds, raccoons, and squirrels often try to make their homes within chimneys. In many cases, these critters will enter the chimney but won’t be able to exit, eventually dying. This can produce maggots, flies and unpleasant odors in your home. A professionally installed chimney cap, sized properly, will prevent animals from entering the chimney.
2. Reduces moisture
A chimney cap will keep rainwater from coming down your home’s chimney. Rainwater can damage chimneys with stainless steel liners, chimney dampers, and chimney mortar joints. Beyond the damage from the water itself, moisture from rainwater can produce mold and mildew.
3. Block downdrafts
If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, it can introduce a downdraft. If you don’t have a chimney cap and you’re using a wood-burning fireplace at the time, a wind-induced downdraft has the potential of blowing smoke back into your home. The flat-shaped top of a chimney cap is designed to help prevent wind-induced downdrafts.
4. Stop sparks and embers
Some people refer to chimney caps as spark arrestors, which basically means that the chimney cap helps prevent lit embers or sparks that travel up the chimney from landing on roof, possibly catching it on fire.
5. Prevent debris build-up
Leaves, branches, twigs and other debris can enter a chimney and build up if a chimney cap is not in place.