For many homes across the country, the arrival of spring signifies the beginning of a thorough cleaning. Tasks like cleaning the dryer vent and wiping down the back of the refrigerator are common on spring cleaning checklists. If you have a fireplace and chimney cleaning isn’t already on your list, it’s imperative that you add it right away. Below are some excellent reasons to clean your chimney at least once each year.
Creosote Buildup is Dangerous
Creosote is a combustion byproduct that builds up inside your chimney liner with every single fire you light. Though it is not dangerous when regularly cleaned by a professional, if it builds up over time, there could be severe consequences. In fact, in order from the least bothersome to the most dangerous, creosote can:
- Create a strong odor that is pungent, sharp, and more noticeable when humidity is present in the air.
- Irritate your eyes or skin and cause redness, itching, stinging, rashes, and more.
- Cause respiratory issues for people who are sensitive or who have preexisting medical conditions.
- Increase the risk of cancer somewhat, especially for those who are predisposed. Creosote is a carcinogen, but it is only dangerous in large amounts.
- Cause a fire due to buildup. Over time, creosote goes from powdery and fine to flaky and coarse, and if it still isn’t removed, it will become tarry and thick. This is a serious fire hazard.
Small Repairs Prevent Big Expenses
Hiring a professional to clean and inspect once a year is a great way to make sure that you are doing everything you can to prevent disasters. For example, a strip of missing flashing may seem frivolous, and it may only cost a couple hundred dollars to repair. But, if left unchecked, the resulting water leak into your home could do tens of thousands of dollars in structural damage between the rot and the mold.
The Pros Might Catch a Potentially Dangerous Issue Early
Another important reason to add chimney cleaning to your spring cleaning checklist right away has to do with saving money. Many homeowners skip the cleanings here and there to save money, but this could end up costing them far more than they bargained for by skipping the cleaning. Trained professionals will check your chimney for common issues as they clean, and these could range from something like cracked masonry leading to a leak to a stuck damper that does not allow combustion gases to properly escape, leading to a buildup of dangerous carbon monoxide. Professionals can find these things before they cause problems – and this may even save your life.
Of all the reasons to add chimney cleaning to your spring cleaning checklist, your peace of mind is one of the most important. After having your chimney inspected and cleaned by a knowledgeable professional, you can rest easy knowing that you have done your part to prevent fires, toxic fumes, and even expensive repairs due to unseen issues. There’s no better way to kick off the start of the warm season.