Summer has finally faded away, and fall enthusiastically took its place. The cool winds have begun blowing leaves from the colorful trees, and people are starting to bundle up a bit before heading out for the day. This is the season of raking leaves, carving pumpkins and sipping hot apple cider. In addition to these seasonal activities, homeowners are also starting to think about heating their homes during the upcoming cold weather. Many people utilize a fireplace or stove to heat all or at least a portion of their home during the late fall and winter. This means that now is the time to schedule the annual maintenance required to keep the chimney clean, safe, and functional. If you plan to use your fireplace or stove this season, make your chimney sweep and inspection appointment before the rush.
A chimney sweep and an inspection are both crucial to keeping your family and home safe if you plan to use your fireplace. Specifically, a chimney sweep serves two main functions. First, the mason locates and removes any blockages from the chimney. Around this time of year, little animals like birds and squirrels are on the hunt for a cozy place to escape from the elements. Unfortunately, your chimney looks very attractive to them. However, if the chimney is obstructed in any way, it cannot function properly. The smoke and other toxic fumes meant to be expelled through the chimney hit the blockage and end up flowing right back into your home. Your house will develop a film of messy soot and the concentration of poisonous carbon monoxide gas skyrockets.
The other purpose of the chimney sweep is to remove the built up creosote. This tarlike product of burning wood clings to the flue liner and builds upon itself every time a fire burns. If left to build up, the creosote could close off the flue completely, causing the same problems as if an animal nested in the chimney. Furthermore, creosote is highly flammable, so the more you let build up, the higher the risk of a chimney or house fire.
In contrast, a chimney inspection has a very different function. Inspectors look for any potentially dangerous issues with your fireplace, stove, and chimney. Water damage is a surprisingly common issue that can cause structural damage to the chimney, making it unsafe. The flue liner is also a critical piece to inspect, because any damage to that can lead to house fires and damaged masonry. The inspector also checks more minor pieces, like the chimney cap, chimney crown and damper assembly to ensure everything is in good repair.
In order to save yourself the hassle and potentially thousands of dollars in repairs, schedule your sweep and inspection as soon as possible. If you live in the Mickleton, New Jersey area, contact Mason’s Chimney Service and Certified Air Duct Cleaning Inc. for a professional consultation.