Why Do Chimneys Need to Be Swept?

A red brick chimney on top of a home

With the scorching summer heat, the last thing you may be thinking of is your chimney. But now’s a great time to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection! Though you may be thinking “why do chimneys need to be swept anyway?” It’s a great question – and the short answer is that it’s important to the safety of your home and the health of your family!

Read on to discover the answer to “why do chimneys need to be swept” and what skipping this crucial maintenance step could cause for your home.

Prevent Chimney Fires

When asking why chimneys need to be swept, the number one answer most experienced chimney professionals will give you is that it prevents chimney fires. Ironically, despite being designed for directing the smoke of your fireplace out of your home, your chimney isn’t really designed to handle actual fire – just the byproducts of combustion.

As you burn fires in your fireplace, a substance known as creosote is produced that will build up along the flue of your chimney. In older homes, this can happen right on the brick of the chimney. In modern homes, you’ll have a flue liner, though creosote can still build on these as well.

Creosote is black and sticky… but more importantly, it’s flammable. As creosote builds up, it blocks ventilation in your chimney and can eventually reach a high enough temperature that it catches fire. When creosote burns against the liner or brick, it can eat destroy the surface. Chimney fires don’t always lead to house fires, but they can. Even the first chimney fire can spread to nearby construction material surrounding the chimney. But if it doesn’t, it creates an easier path for heat and flames to reach these vulnerable areas of your house, putting your entire home at risk!

One of the primary tasks of a chimney sweep is to clear away this creosote. Due to the hard-to-reach areas it sticks to and the challenge it can be to remove, a chimney sweep’s unique tools and experience are your best bet for thoroughly cleaning it away. While you may be able to manage some creosote lower down in the firebox, it’s not safe for you to try and sweep it away throughout the entirety of the flue. This is both because of the physical challenges involved, and also because creosote isn’t good for your body to come into contact with.

Improve Home Air Quality

While preventing chimney fires is probably the best reason for why chimneys need to be swept, most homeowners appreciate the value of good in-home air quality. After all, when you’re relaxing at home, you want to know you’re breathing clean air that’s not harming your respiratory system.

Unfortunately, dirty chimneys can cause all kinds of respiratory issues for anyone living in your home, both your family and your pets. While creosote itself can be one cause of this, any of the byproducts of burning can reduce air quality in your home.

Remove Blockages Leading to Smoke Damage

The blockages that build up in a chimney can sometimes prevent smoke from fully exhausting out of the flue. When this happens, it will try to find anywhere else it can go, which is typically straight back into the room with your fireplace. Anyone who’s attended a bonfire knows how uncomfortable it is to inhale a big plume of smoke. It’s not just painful – it’s harmful to your long-term health!

Eliminate Chimney Odors

Have you ever noticed a smell in your home that you couldn’t quite pinpoint? If you have a fireplace and a chimney, that just may be the cause! Again, creosote is one of the more common sources behind chimney issues, but that’s not the only cause.

Another common issue in chimneys is that they’re made of brick. While brick is a strong, sturdy material, it’s also very porous. When moisture gets inside, it can cause all sorts of issues ranging from spalling to feeding mold or mildew. When that mold or mildew continues to grow, it starts to stink.

A chimney sweep will be able to clear your chimney of visible mold. Additionally, they may be able to provide your chimney with protection from moisture issues to stop mold from reoccurring and add extra protection to keep it standing strong for years to come.

Summer is a Great Time to Schedule a Chimney Sweeping

Now that you know why chimneys need to be swept, it’s time to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection! The best time to do it? Right now! Most homeowners aren’t thinking about their fireplace in the dog days of summer, which means it’s easiest to schedule your appointment. You also can’t ignore the convenience of knowing that your fireplace will be ready to go on the first unbearably cold day of fall or winter, too!

Schedule Service for a New Fireplace Today!

Our  CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps can help you find the right new fireplace for your home and install it. Our technicians follow up-to-date safety standards and compliances to ensure your new appliance is effective and safe! Contact us today! We’ll get you set up right away so you can have peace of mind.

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