Chestnuts roasting on an open fire might sound seasonally appropriate, but before starting a fire in the fireplace or relying on your wood stove this season, make sure your chimney is clean and properly maintained.
Aside from adding ambiance to a home’s environment, the chimney functions on a practical level to keep your home’s air breathable, by carrying out flue gasses. In this way, the chimney is a lot like another vent or window. The elements it deals with directly are, “smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles hydrocarbon, tar fog and assorted minerals,” according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
However, the act of expelling these elements can form a residue called creosote. Creosote sticks to chimney walls and is highly combustible. If you fail to regularly clean or maintain your chimney, creosote can build up and, in sufficient quantities, lead to chimney or flue fires.
The good news? Clean chimneys don’t catch on fire. The best way to safely enjoy your fireplace this winter is to ensure it’s clean and any potentially dangerous elements are addressed. As with most things, the key to fixing a problem is making sure a situation doesn’t have the chance to become a problem in the first place through preventative maintenance.
In addition to helping put the kibosh on chimney fires, preventative maintenance is also instrumental in avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning caused by flue blockage. Flue blockage in chimneys occurs when debris falls into the chimney. This debris can be anything from a deteriorating masonry chimney to wildlife nests, so even if you don’t regularly use your fireplace, it wouldn’t hurt to have it inspected. Carbon monoxide can likewise enter the home via cracks or holes in the flue or chimney caused by moisture, chemical residue or, yes, a chimney fire. Carbon monoxide poisoning is serious and can be fatal; regular maintenance can go a long way for both your help and peace of mind.
Want your chimney inspected? LCS Kleen-Aire offers ChimScan digital video inspection service that allows the technicians to see what sort of issues a chimney might have and offer the best course of action. Please feel free to call us (417.883.5220) or drop us an email with any questions regarding chimney safety, or to schedule your maintenance checkup!