How Do I Know if My Chimney is Safe to Use?

Building a fire when it’s cold outside can help you save on heating costs. It can also create a romantic and cozy atmosphere. But how do you know if your fireplace is really safe to use? Don’t ever assume that your chimney is functioning properly. As the cold season approaches, here are some things you need to know about chimney inspection.

The Importance of Chimney Services

Most of us look forward to this time of year when the leaves begin to change, and we can enjoy the holiday season with loved ones and wear our favorite sweaters. But before you light those logs in your fireplace, the chimney should be inspected by a professional.

In this age of DIY, you may be wondering if it’s possible to do your own chimney inspection. We love DIY projects at The Irish Sweep, but we don’t recommend them when it comes to the safety of your home.

An inspection can identify issues with your fireplace and chimney before they become dangerous. When a chimney isn’t functioning as it was designed to, the risk of fire increases. Another concern is that a blockage could cause harmful gas and smoke to build up inside your home. This can  result in serious illness, or even death.

Resolve Issues

If you have any questions about chimney and fireplace maintenance, it’s best to contact an experienced professional who knows the industry inside and out.

One of the benefits of scheduling a regular chimney inspection is that it can cut down on the need for chimney repairs. And, of course, no homeowner wants to pay for expensive repair work, especially when it could have been prevented.

If everything looks good, you’ll have peace of mind while using your fireplace. But if any issues are identified, you’ll be able to take care of them right away. Remember, don’t put off having minor chimney repairs resolved because they can turn into bigger problems. Or, even create risks for your household.

Schedule a Chimney Inspection

This is a great time of year to schedule an appointment with a Bay Area chimney cleaner to verify everything is working the way it should. Fall is ideal because it’s just beginning to get chilly at night.

So, if it’s been a while since your last chimney inspection, give us a call at The Irish Sweep. We’re here to answer all your questions. Contact us at (510) 521-4088.

When and How Often Should You Get a Chimney Inspection?

Scheduling a chimney inspection is a great way to stay proactive and avoid future problems. Failure to maintain your chimney can lead to a variety of issues and cost you a lot of money over time. Reaching out to professionals to inspect your chimney before the winter season will keep your chimney working well and ensure the safety of your home and your family.

Frequency of Chimney Inspections

Typically, you should have your chimney inspected yearly for the best results. Safety is the number one reason for scheduling an inspection, as chimneys are the second most common cause for house fires. Creosote is a highly flammable substance inside your chimney that tends to build up over time. It can catch on fire if it’s not cleaned out. Carbon monoxide poisoning is another major safety concern. An annual inspection plays a key role in keeping you and your family safe.

While experts recommend a yearly inspection, you may opt to have your chimney cleaned more often if it’s used frequently. The more a chimney is used, the more creosote builds up. Because creosote is the substance that can present a fire hazard, it should be cleaned away whenever it begins to coat the flue. You should also have your chimney inspected if you’re experiencing any performance issues.

Benefits of a Chimney Inspection

While safety is the number one benefit of having your chimney inspected, there are additional advantages to be gained. For example, a professional inspector can identify any structural issues due to an obstruction in your chimney. Checking for structural issues on your own isn’t an easy task for most homeowners. Chimney inspection professionals use the latest equipment in the industry to ensure your chimney is working optimally.

What if I Don’t Use My Chimney?

Even if you don’t often use your chimney, it should still be inspected once per year. This is because small animals sometimes make homes in chimney openings. Alternatively, debris may have found its way into the chimney, making it dangerous to use. A chimney inspector is able to identify and remove obstructions, maintaining the soundness of your chimney, and ensuring that it’s safe for use.

Contact Us

At The Irish Sweep, we understand the importance of fireplace safety and strive to meet the unique needs of each customer. Our team of experts follows national standards. Your comfort and safety are our number one priority. Contact us today at 510.521.4088 to learn more about our professional chimney inspection and cleaning services.

Signs That Your Chimney Needs to be Inspected

Having a fireplace can make a home feel warm, cozy, and comfortable, but there are also dangers to be aware of as a responsible homeowner. If your chimney isn’t kept in good condition, it could result in a devastating fire. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that your chimney is always in full working order. But if you’re unsure whether you need a chimney inspection, there are signs to keep an eye out for.

 Rust

Your firebox or damper should be free from rust. If rust does begin to develop, this could be a sign that there’s too much moisture in the chimney. While the rust itself won’t cause any significant problems, the moisture inside the chimney can be problematic. For example, it could cause the flue tiles to become cracked.

Damaged Flue

If the flue becomes damaged, you may begin to notice pieces of tile falling into the fireplace. This is known as shaling and can potentially lead to a very serious fire hazard. It’s best to call on an expert for a chimney inspection.

Similarly, if the walls around the fireplace appear to be damaged, this could also suggest that there’s moisture within the chimney. Peeling wallpaper is a good example.

Wildlife

Another thing to be mindful of is wildlife. If you hear animal noises from within the chimney or find debris that could have been left by an animal, such as twigs, this could suggest that a critter has built a home inside the chimney or become trapped. If this happens, definitely don’t try to smoke the animal out by lighting a fire.

A Smoking Fireplace

Another thing to watch out for is a fireplace that lets smoke into the room. Not only is this unpleasant, but it’s a sign that a dangerous amount of flammable soot and creosote may have built up on the walls of your chimney.

Weather Damage

In times of extreme weather, there’s extra potential for your chimney to sustain damage. This might include the development of cracks, loosened bricks, or other issues. A damaged chimney won’t perform as well as it was intended to, and can even be dangerous.

Time

Ideally, you should schedule a chimney inspection each year, but many people put off this essential home maintenance. If it’s been more than twelve months since your last professional chimney inspection, it’s a good idea to remedy this.

Scheduling Your Chimney Inspection

While there are risks associated with a chimney that’s not regularly cared for, these issues can be eliminated through proper maintenance. Protect your home today by calling us at 510.521.4088. Or, reach out online by emailing staff@theirishsweep.com.