Have you purchased a home that has one or more fireplaces? Are you looking forward to being able to light a cozy fire and read a book or snuggle with your significant other? Having a fireplace is a great asset to any home. But before you light any fire, it's important to have your chimney cleaned out and inspected every year. If you've never had a fireplace before, you might not realize why this is such a vital thing to do. Here are some of the most important reasons for doing so:
Remove dangerous creosote: Every time you light a fire in the fireplace, some of the smoke residue may collect on the inside of the chimney and solidify. This residue is called creosote, and over time, it forms a layer of partially combusted material that coats the inside of your chimney. Without regular professional chimney cleaning, this substance could catch fire any time there's a fire in the fireplace below. Since creosote is very similar to tar, a creosote fire burns very hot and could easily result in something like your roof catching fire. By removing the layer of creosote, you'll be preventing this from happening.
Prevent dangerous attic fires: As materials heat up, they tend to expand. As they cool down, they contract. What this means for your chimney is that, over time, it will start to develop cracks in its mortar. Without a professional chimney cleaning and inspection, you aren't going to know how serious these cracks are. Large cracks that go into your home's attic will lead to hot gases being vented into the attic space. As the gases collect, the attic space will get hotter and hotter until it can eventually spontaneously combust. If your cleaning reveals an issue, you can have it fixed immediately to prevent it from starting a fire.
Eliminate obstructions: Most modern chimneys have some sort of cap or grille over the top to prevent birds and other small animals from getting into your chimney. Unfortunately, these can get blown away in a strong storm, and you may not be able to tell from the ground. You won't necessarily be able to tell by checking your fireplace for animals either. Small animals may find themselves lodged at the top of the chimney or they may rest on the shelf-like areas that can be found in the upper parts of many chimneys. Regardless, once an animal enters your chimney, they may not be able to get out again and may die without you even knowing that they were there. Without a professional chimney cleaning to remove them from the premises, they may prevent smoke from being able to get out of the chimney or may even spark a dangerous chimney fire.