Chimney cleaning and maintenance is a must! If chimney cleaning is not done properly it can lead to the total loss of a home. That is a loss that no one wants to feel. No matter if you have a wood burner, pellet stove, gas fireplace, or other appliance that exhausts through a chimney system it gives off particles that builds up over time. This build-up is creosote and it will line the inside walls of a metal or masonry chimney. Then if a hot ember or spark gets into the chimney the creosote will catch on fire, it burns hot and quick! A full blown chimney fire only takes a matter of minutes once it ignites.
With this information the question is no longer “Do you need regular chimney cleaning and maintenance?” The answer to that is simple, YES! The question now is “Do you hire a professional to clean your chimney or do you do the chimney cleaning yourself?” So let’s take a look at those options.
DIY Chimney Cleaning:
Doing your own chimney cleaning is a way to cut some costs, which is fine as long as you know what you are doing! There are some many aspects that go into cleaning a chimney and maintaining it properly. The most common chimney type that is easy for DIY’ers is a metal chimney. A metal chimney can be chimney pipe, pellet vent pipe, or a relined masonry chimney. Maintaining a metal chimney is a little easier. You need to make sure that the pipes are not leaking anywhere and that all connections are tight. To clean use a poly brush and rod system. However if you are not comfortable with heights, or don’t want to get dirty you may want to reconsider cleaning your chimney yourself. If you suspect at all that you have a problem with your chimney system or masonry chimney for sure call professional to inspect it. The alternative is a heartbreak that you do not want for your family.
Professional Chimney Sweeps:
There are many reasons to hire a professional chimney sweep for a chimney cleaning. A professional chimney sweeps will do more than just routine chimney cleaning. It is recommended that you hire a professional when you initially purchase a home that has a chimney. The reason being that they will inspect the integrity of the chimney structure making sure that it is sound and there are no cracks that will cause leaks or drafting issues. A professional chimney sweep will inspect the chimney from top to bottom.
Continuing to have a chimney sweep maintain your chimney takes the burden off of the homeowner. If a problem arises they have the eye and the tools to catch it long before a novice DIY chimney cleaner does. Having that type of security is priceless when it comes to your family’s safety in your home. Professional chimney sweeps are also able to clean and maintain metal flues if you do not want to deal with the hassle. Yes, it will cost you more than if you were to clean your own chimney but in some instances calling a professional is necessary. If you suspect any leaks or cracks in your masonry chimney it is most definitely the best option to call in the professionals and at least get their opinion.
Maintenance in between Cleanings
There are so many options that you have to keep the creosote build-up to a minimum in between chimney cleanings, whether you call the professionals or do it yourself. There are products that are safe to be added to the firebox before or during use that will aid in the fight against creosote build-up. This will help so that the chimney cleaning does not have to be done as frequently. Also when the chimney cleaning is done it won’t be such a difficult job.