Your home is likely to be the most important asset you have. Having a fireplace increases the value of that asset, and adds a quality to your life that is hard to measure. Taking care of your fireplace, or – more specifically – your chimney, is critical for both the financial and cozy values of your home. In terms of chimney maintenance, there are three things fireplace users need to know:
1. Use the fireplace properly: make sure the damper is fully open when in use, make sure the grate is against the back wall, only burn dry firewood or manufactured logs.
2. Clean the firebox: ash build up in your fireplace restricts airflow and can cause smoke in your home.
3. Have trusted chimney sweep.
Why would you need a trusted chimney sweep? Well, they’re the ones who do the real work when it comes to taking care of your fireplace and chimney.
First, they clean. Chimney cleaning is not a Do It Yourself type of project.
It is, however, imperative to have your chimney cleaned regularly because of the flammable material that collects along the inside of the chimney. So, how often is “regularly” in the chimney sweep business?
The rule of thumb is after every 75 uses; but who really counts? If you are burning a couple of times a week during cooler weather, figure on calling in a professional once a year. Once on-site, the sweep can give you abettor estimate.
Second, they inspect.
While there is some amount of inspection during the cleaning process, a Level II inspection combines cleaning and thorough camera inspection of your chimney.
You want to have one of these inspections:
- Before re-facing the fireplace, remodeling or adding on to your home, or selling your home.
- After an event that might damage the chimney –especially earthquakes.
- If you suspect water damage.
- If you think something is wrong. It is better to know that everything is all right than to ignore a problem that could result in losing your home.
Third, they may repair.
This is where the “trusted” part really comes into play. A reputable chimney sweep is a certified chimney sweep. In California, if the sweep installs, demolishes, replaces, or repairs, then they must have a contractor’s license as well. If your sweep does not have a contractor’s license, or cannot manage your specific job, they are sure to offer you referrals to qualified professionals.
Good chimney health not only ensures the continued value ofyour home. It protects your home from loss by fire.