Top 7 Benefits to a Clean Chimney
Having a chimney and a fireplace can be one of the better joys in your life.
I know it sounds crazy, but think about it.
Your fireplace is the centerpiece of your living room. It’s probably where your TV is hanging up. It’s what you decorate to really put the icing on top during Christmas.
Even with all the joys, sometimes your fireplace can really be a pain to keep up with.
Despite that, here is a list of all the benefits that you’ll get by keeping your chimney clean.
#1 – Easier to Inspect
Okay, I admit. This one may seem like it’s more for people like me. Those of us that are inspecting your chimney, always appreciate it when it’s clean.
Not so much because it keeps us relatively cleaner.
But because it’s easier to perform an accurate and thorough inspection.
Soot, creosote, and other debris can attach to the liner, smoke shelf, and damper. As you can probably imagine, covering those spots will make it hard to see issues in their early stages.
If we can catch a problem in its early stage, we can fix it when the repairs are minor and less expensive.
#2 – Prevents Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A dirty chimney can obstruct air flow. It’s not just creosote that I’m talking about. You can have twigs, leaves, birds nests, and other animals that can burrow into your chimney.
When this happens, the air can’t get lifted up and the gases, like Carbon Monoxide, can be pushed down and back into your home.
A clean chimney will allow the gases to flow up and out of your chimney like it’s supposed to.
#3 – Decrease the Likelihood of Smoke Reversing
Very similar to the point in the last section with Carbon monoxide, an obstruction in the chimney that messes with the air flow, will cause the smoke to get pushed back in the room.
Unlike carbon monoxide, though, when smoke gets pushed back down, you risk getting smoke and ash all over rugs, furniture, and your clothes.
Which, I guess, is pretty minor considering the potential death factor in carbon monoxide…
Either way, no one wants to inhale smoke from the fireplace.
#4 – Prevents Chimney Fires
Every time you use your fireplace, creosote is created.
There’s no stopping it.
Creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct of burning wood. Creosote is sticky, concentrated, and highly flammable.
In fact, creosote is one of the most common causes of chimney fires. It doesn’t take a lot of creosote to start a small chimney fire.
And every small chimney fire causes progressive damage to the inside of your chimney. It only takes one large chimney fire to cause a catastrophic event.
All it really takes is one stray ember to stick to a creosote deposit to cause a chimney fire.
Since creosote is also corrosive, it will eat away at your chimney liner, creating an opening for the fire to reach.
#5 – Increased Burn Efficiency
In order for wood to burn all the way through in the most efficient way possible, you’ll need to have a clean channel for air to go into the firebox and up and out of the chimney.
In other words, you need to make sure your chimney doesn’t have obstructions so that airflow is optimized.
Otherwise, insufficient oxygen will reach the burning wood, decreasing the heat of the burn.
You know that fires need oxygen to burn. Fires will only burn at peak efficiency in an environment that allows for proper airflow.
If there isn’t enough heat coming from your fireplace, what’s the point?
#6 – Fireplace Lasts Longer
When you have a clean chimney, you know that your fireplace will be safe to use.
You’ll know that airflow is optimal. You’ll know that creosote isn’t at a dangerous level.
And you’ll know that the chimney inspection is as accurate as possible since there isn’t anything covering minor issues.
As I mentioned before, creosote is also corrosive and acidic. So it will eat away at your chimney liner. Keeping the liner clean will allow it to last longer.
There are also some other dangerous consequences such as combustion or trapping of poisonous gases that you can avoid with a clean chimney.
#7 – Lower Costs in the Long Run
With a clean chimney, your chimney technician will be able to see all the potential problems that your chimney has.
If we can get in front of the smaller issues, we can work to prevent the larger issues that can occur.
I like to say that chimney problems are a lot like dominoes: as one piece falls, it leads to several other pieces falling as well.
A small crack in the liner could be a simple fix. But left alone, you could also face a chimney fire that could burn your whole house.
Think of it in another way. Keeping your chimney clean is very similar to getting your oil changed in your car.
You have to take time and money to hire a professional.
But if you skip changing your car’s oil, your car’s engine will start to have problems. Your engine will run too hot, which will decrease your car’s efficiency.
But it will also cause a lot of the engine components to warp and wear out.
Eventually, the entire engine will shut down and have to be replaced!
How to Hire a Chimney Company
You can easily reach out to your local chimney company and have a done-for-you solution in no time!
But navigating through all of the chimney companies in your city can be a chore all on its own. And it makes sense, too.
Hiring anyone to come into your home to fix something like your chimney shouldn’t be a task you take lightly. So I created a list that you can use to make sure you make the right decision when you need someone to help you in your home.
Questions to Ask
When you’re hiring a chimney company, you should always ask the following questions before allowing them to come into your home:
- Can the company provide references?
- Does the company carry a valid business liability insurance policy?
- Does the company ensure that a certified chimney technician will be on the job?
If they guarantee all three of those, then you are in a good spot. The technicians don’t necessarily need to be certified by the CSIA, but I do recommend putting in a bit more due diligence before accepting a certification that’s not by the CSIA.
This is because certifications are a tricky thing, especially in an unlicensed industry like ours. Any company can craft a list of job-related questions and sell them as an exam and certify those who pass.
I recommend you take a few extra minutes in your research before making your hiring decision to learn more about the certification the company has. Here are a few tips to make sure the certification is reputable:
- Is the word “certified” just part of the business name or is it an earned designation?
- Is the certifying body a for-profit business or non-profit?
- Does the certification need to be maintained and renewed through continuing education as the industry evolves, or is it well enough to be certified through a one-time exam?
- Is the certifying body well-established or are they relatively new to the scene? New doesn’t mean “bad” but you should make sure the requirements for certification are more or at least equally stringent as those of more established certifications
- Is the mission statement of the certifying body focused on educating and protecting homeowners or is it more focused on making it easier to earn a certification?
- Does holding the certification require following a code of ethics?
If you can answer all of these questions, then I think it will be safe to allow the company in your home to work on your chimney.
Please note that If you are hiring a chimney company to install a cap for you, most of the time, they will need to buy the cap themselves. This is primarily for liability and insurance purposes.
Besides, it’s probably cheaper for them to buy a cap at the dealer discount than for you to buy one at retail cost.
It doesn’t matter if you are in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Blacksburg, or some other city anywhere in the USA — if you have any questions about the safety of hiring a chimney company, please don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com or call me at 540-225-2626. I’m happy to help!
We’re licensed, insured, certified, and guarantee you’ll be happy with your service.