As winter approaches in Chicago and the Chicagoland area, you’re probably looking forward to getting more use out of your fireplace. You may not think too often about its maintenance the rest of the year. Unfortunately, neglected chimneys can smoke, smell, heat less efficiently, and pose fire and health hazards.
When it’s time to get your fireplace ready for winter use, how do you sort between what’s true and what’s not surrounding maintenance? At Capital Chimney Corp, we want to help you stay informed.
Here are a few common myths about chimney cleaning:
- Metal or other chimney liners don’t need annual cleaning.
- Unused fireplaces can skip cleanings.
- Stay away from softwoods to extend the time between cleanings.
- Sweeps aren’t required just before liner installation.
- DIY cleanings are easy with guidance from the internet.
1. Flue Liners Don’t Replace Regular Sweeps
Types of flue liners vary, but none negate the need for annual cleaning to keep soot and creosote from building up. While liners can help keep these by-products from building up on chimney walls, their primary purpose is to protect against sparks.
Without an efficient annual sweep, your lined chimney may become blocked, funneling soot into your house and presenting a fire hazard.
2. All Fires Generate Soot
You may have heard that using hardwoods strictly for your fires will allow you to avoid regular cleanings and inspections. Smoldering fires may create more creosote and soot, but sticking with harder woods and hotter fires still produces buildup that requires removal by specific methods and tools.
3. Unused Fireplaces Aren’t Maintenance-Free
Interestingly, one of the most common causes of fires in chimneys is lighting a fire in a fireplace that hasn’t been used in a while. Infrequent fires do not mean fewer sweeps and inspections. The environment, wildlife, dirt, and dust can form possible blockages as well.
Professional inspections also identify damage to your chimney, which may have gone unnoticed if your chimney has not been cleaned for a long time. These need to be addressed for safe fireplace use.
4. Clean Your Chimney Before Installing Liner
Installing the liner is itself is not a substitute for the job of cleaning. If you don’t sweep the chimney just before installing a new liner, creosote will remain between the walls and the liner. Enlist a professional for a complete cleaning before the liner goes in.
5. Sweeps Are Not A Good DIY Project
This is one part of your home that is too dangerous to take chances on. Glossing over areas or incomplete, incorrect cleaning can leave behind enough contaminants and minerals to create a fire or health hazard. Novice sweeps may even cause damage.
Schedule Winter Chimney Cleaning Today
Get an experienced sweep in, and you don’t have to worry about all the misinformation. Contact us at Capital Chimney Corp in Chicago, IL, for professional and stress-free chimney cleaning and inspection services.