Autumn has officially rounded the corner. The temperatures have dropped and so have the colorful leaves. Cool winds have everyone digging up their warm jackets before they head outside, and pumpkin coffees and ciders are the drinks to have right now. In addition to partaking in the usual fall activities, homeowners in particular have another thing on their minds: heating their homes. The frigid East coast winter is on our heels, and people are starting to prepare. For those who utilize a fireplace or stove to heat their home or even to create a cozy ambiance, now is the time when everyone is scheduling their annual chimney sweep and inspection. While these measures are wise for safety and functionality, a lot of homeowners do not know why they need to have a chimney sweep every year.
The chimney sweep serves two main functions. The first purpose is to locate and clear out any debris from the chimney. Especially as the cold weather starts to set in, little animals like birds and squirrels start scouting out a comfy spot to keep out of the elements. Unfortunately, your flue looks quite attractive to these critters, and oftentimes they make a home out of it. While you may or may not be happy to provide a home for these animals, it can create some serious hazards for your family.
When an animal, its nest, or any other type of obstruction blocks the chimney, the chimney cannot do its job properly. The purpose of the chimney is to safely expel the smoke and toxic gases from the fire, instead of letting them leak into your house. When the fumes rise up the chimney and hit the obstruction, they have no option except to backup right back into the house. One of the main dangers in fire smoke is carbon monoxide. This gas is not detectable to humans, except by the alerts from a carbon monoxide detector, making it extra dangerous. Upon inhaling carbon monoxide, the body loses oxygen, quickly leading to unconsciousness and eventually death. To prevent this, the mason will remove any obstruction from your chimney.
The second function of a chimney sweep is to remove the creosote that builds up in the flue after every fire. The process of burning wood produces this tarlike material, and it readily clings to whatever surface it first hits – usually your flue liner. If not cleaned out regularly, the creosote can actually build up to the point that it completely closes up the flue. This causes the same problem as an animal blocking the chimney. Additionally, creosote is highly flammable, so allowing large quantities to collect in the chimney greatly increases the risk of a chimney or house fire.
To keep your family and home safe when burning fires in your fireplace this season, have an expert out to sweep your chimney. If you live in the area of Waldorf, Maryland, contact Magic Broom Chimney Sweeps for a professional consultation.