As you are basking in the warmth and comfort of your fireplace, the last thing you are likely to be thinking of is the condition of your chimney.
However, if your chimney is not cared for before you light those winter fires, your enjoyment may be short lived. Dirty chimneys are a fire hazard.
The gunky residue that sticks to the inside walls of the chimney is creosote. Creosote is highly combustible and if it builds up in sufficient quantities – and catches fire inside the chimney flue– the result will be a chimney fire.
Clean chimneys don’t catch fire.
It is recommended that chimneys are cleaned once a year but if the fireplace is not used often, it might possible to skip and do it every few years.
Since we recently bought our house and were not certain how often the fireplace had been used or when the chimney was last cleaned, we scheduled a chimney cleaning.
I am so thankful we did. This poor guy was under our chimney sucking out soot for hours. He said our chimney looked like it had never been cleaned.
Also, when the chimney cleaner inspected our chimney, it was discovered that the damper was broken. A damper is a door that opens and closes the chimney flue. Since our damper was not working, we basically had open tunnel in our house that was allowing all the air-conditioning and heat to escape. No wonder it was always freezing in the living room!! We had to install a new damper which set us back $325 but we should see the savings in the future with lower utility bills.
Here is our new damper. Dampers are commonly installed inside the chimney but since ours was broken it would have been a very expensive fix to rebuild it inside. So this alternative top unit was installed.
Now we just one more thing…we need to cut back the tree limbs because they should be at least 10 feet from the chimney.
We are almost ready to toast by the fireplace!