Scheduling Your Inspection: Being Proactive – Not Reactive
Every year thousands of homes go up in flames because of poor chimney maintenance. You can prevent this from happening to your home by proactively scheduling a chimney inspection every year.
80% of fire-related deaths in the U.S. are caused by house fires. Most of those fires begin in the fireplace or chimney. That’s why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that every home with a fireplace have an annual chimney inspection. The purpose of a chimney inspection is to check for the two biggest risks: obstruction by creosote and/or debris and interior or exterior chimney damage. Catching these problems early can save your life.
There are six benefits of scheduling a chimney inspection:
Prevent a House Fire
Have you ever noticed thick, black buildup in your chimney? That is creosote. It’s a by-product of burning wood that accumulates in chimneys. It’s created when condensation in the chimney mixes with smoke from the fire. Too much of it in your chimney can be extremely dangerous. It is highly flammable. High temperature or a stray spark in the flue can ignite it.
Creosote is the leading cause of chimney fires. A chimney fire could spread to your home. Even if it stays contained in the chimney, it can leave you with thousands of dollars in damages.
During a chimney inspection, a certified chimney technician or sweeps will clean out creosote buildup. They have specialized equipment and tough chemicals that allow them to remove even third stage creosote.
Prevent Water Damage
Chimney leaks are a common problem that can lead to hundreds of dollars of water damage. There are many ways that water can get into the chimney system from damaged flashing to a broken crown. Water can even seep in through the masonry. Bricks and mortar that haven’t been treated with a waterproofing sealant absorb water much like a sponge. When the water in the masonry freezes, it can create cracks that allow more water to enter.
Certified chimney sweeps are trained to look for ways that water could enter the chimney system. If they discover that your chimney is vulnerable to water damage, they will let you know what actions you can take to prevent it.
Safely Remove Pests & Debris
Critters love to crawl into chimneys. Many fireplace owners have had an experience with an unwanted critter getting in through the chimney. If your chimney is obstructed by an animal nest or lawn debris (such as sticks and leaves) it can be a hazard. Lighting your fire when the chimney is obstructed increases your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and a house fire. Many homeowners have accidentally set their homes on fire by trying to smoke out a pest.
During a chimney inspection, a certified chimney technician will look for any signs of obstruction. If any pests, nests or debris is in the chimney they will clear it out safely.
Catch Problems Early
Fireplace owners often don’t realize that their chimney has a problem until it is serious. Minor chimney damage, such as a warped damper, can go unnoticed until it causes more severe damage such as a cracked chimney liner. Replacing a chimney liner or repairing structural damage caused by long-term water incursion can be expensive to fix. Catching these problems earlier will save you money and stress.
Certified chimney sweeps have a trained eye that allows them to spot warning signs that an untrained eye would miss. If they discover a problem, they will let you know what your options are to solve it.
Improve Fireplace Efficiency
Much like how an oil change improves your car’s mileage, a chimney inspection improves your fireplace’s efficiency. A chimney cleaning is included with the inspection. Cleaning out soot, creosote and any other obstructions in your fireplace will help fires burn hotter and cleaner in the hearth.
If you’d like to improve your fireplace, a certified chimney expert can give you tips on how to increase its efficiency.
Keep Up with Your Home Insurance Requirements
Many insurance companies require proof of an annual inspection to cover fireplace or chimney related damage. If you suffer a house fire but have not kept up with your annual inspections, your insurance company may not accept your claim. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Have you scheduled a chimney inspection this year? If you haven’t, this is a great time to make an appointment! Dubuque Fireplace and Patio has a team of professional technicians that have been certified by the National Fireplace Institute (NFI). We serve residents throughout southwest Wisconsin, northwest Illinois, and northeast Iowa. Make an appointment today to protect your home! Call Us Today, (563) 582-5156