Wood Burning Fireplace
If you have a wood burning fireplace in your home that you use reguarly, you should call a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney at least once a year. It’s an easy thing to forget, but there are some very good reasons why a chimney should be swept regularly.
When wood is burned in a fireplace, it forms a sticky substance called creosote that sticks to the inside of your chimney. This will look like either feathery ash or a black tarry substance on the inside of the chimney and the firebox. While creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood, it is also highly combustible and can create a fire hazard when it’s allowed to build up over a period of months. Some of the lighter creosote on the inside of the firebox can be removed, but the stuff on the inside of your chimney will need to be cleaned out by a professional.
Not only does creosote create a serious fire hazard when it builds up on the inside of your chimney, but it restricts the air flow through the chimney and acts as an insulator that reduces heat transfer within your home. This means that your furnace will have to work harder to keep your home heated, which will waste energy and leave you with higher utility bills.
Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A chimney with restricted air flow or one that is blocked entirely can create an unsafe environment for reasons that have nothing to do with flammable creosote. Burning any kind of wood in a fireplace creates a lot of carbon monoxide that is normally allowed to drift upwards through the chimney and out of your home. When that isn’t allowed to happen, carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a serious risk when you use your fireplace.
The good news about hiring a chimney sweep is that you have plenty of options to choose from. There are plenty of companies in the Washington DC area that specialize in sweeping and inspecting chimneys and fireplaces, so don’t hesitate to give them a call if you think it’s time to clean your chimney.