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Top 6 Signs That Show it is Time For a Chimney Sweep

A chimney deserves proper care and cleaning as it constantly contends with combustion gases and extreme outdoor conditions. A neglected chimney can lead to potential health hazards and fires that can damage your home. You may be required to sweep your chimney more than once a year, especially if the fuel, venting system, or the operator are unmatched. It is imperative to perform a regular inspection of your chimney to determine whether it requires cleaning or repair. This article looks at top 6 signs that show it is time for a chimney sweep.

  1. A Thick Buildup of Greasy Black Soot

It is important to arrange for a chimney sweep if the soot deposited in your chimney walls reach a thickness of around an eighth-inch. Too much soot buildup can make it difficult to inspect for other possible damage inside the chimney that may require repairs.

man doing a chimney sweep on an old house
The soot can leave behind a flammable compound known as creosote, triggering fires that can cause extensive damage once they spread to combustible parts of your home. Although gas-burning chimneys tend to be cleaner than wood-burning chimneys, it does not mean that they are maintenance-free. It is always a good idea to check for other build-ups as well as defects.

  1. Fire is Burning Poorly

If it takes longer to start a fire or you cannot keep it burning for a few hours, then there may be a problem with your chimney shaft. Any defects in the chimney shaft prevent the free flow of air that encourages combustion. The fire can only light up fast and stay for a long time if you have proper airflow. Although too little air may be an issue, too much air can also cause problems as it can extinguish the fire. Scheduling for a chimney sweep can help the cleaning professional to identify the source of the problem during the inspection and fix it.

  1. When You Hear Birds or Other Animal Noises

If left unattended, a wood-burning chimney could become home to birds and animals. Apart from the wastes that can accumulate inside the chimney, you may find it inconvenient when birds and animals die within the structure due to intense heat and smoke coming from the fireplace. Contact an animal control department to remove the animals inside your chimney to avoid getting into trouble with the law. A chimney sweep will help clear the wastes and any animal habitat inside the chimney to prevent such incidences from occurring in the future.

  1. Strong Odors Coming From the Chimney

Strong odors are a sign that you may have a problem with your chimney shaft. A fire burning in a clean and properly maintained chimney often produces a pleasant odor. You may notice an unpleasant smell if the updraft system is not working correctly. A poor draft means that there are odorless gases present in your home and harmful gases such as carbon monoxide not only lead to respiratory distress but can also cause death.

  1. Smoke Buildup When Burning Wood

A blockage in the chimney shaft can cause smoke buildup. Several things could create a blockage inside your chimney. For instance, animals that build themselves a habitat inside the chimney could block the pathways that direct the smoke outside your home. Leaves and branches that were carried by strong winds could also find their way into your shaft causing a blockage. Debris from burning wood and increased buildup of grease inside the chimney could cause smoke buildup. A chimney sweep may be necessary to get your chimney functioning at its full capacity.

  1. Non-Wood Debris or Cracked Mortar Joints in the Fire

If you notice black flaky materials or deteriorated mortar dropping down into your fireplace, you need to address the problem before it is too late. Creosote buildups could sometime fall into your firebox if it can no longer hold inside the walls of the chimney. Cracked mortar joints are what keeps the bricks together so if you notice them falling back into the fireplace then you need to schedule for a masonry repair. A chimney sweep not only helps to clean the chimney but also identifies areas that need repair.

It is not a good idea to conclude that your chimney is always in good working order even if you rarely use it. Chimney, fireplaces, and vents should be inspected occasionally for soundness, correct clearances, and freedom from deposits. It is unsafe to use your chimney without getting rid of creosote buildup or accumulated debris from animals’ nesting activity. Always contact a chimney sweep professional as they have the right tools and experience to get the job done.