Chimney sweeps can often face many difficult challenges. Their profession requires them to climb rooftops that may be perilous in both winter and summer conditions, and risks associated with falling chimneys or debris that could harm themselves or their clients are also present.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual chimney sweeping and inspection. A buildup of creosote in your chimney could potentially spark fires within your home if ignited accidentally.
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Creosote is a byproduct of wood and coal burning fires that consists of soot-tar mixture that is highly flammable, eventually depositing along chimney flue walls to cause blockages that increase risk of house fires.
An obstructed chimney can release dangerous carbon monoxide fumes into your home, creating serious safety issues for its occupants. Regular chimney inspections by certified professionals help mitigate such risks.
Damaged chimney caps or dampers may allow debris, animals, and rainwater to enter your fireplace system and lead to water damage, staining, mold growth and the degradation of nearby materials. A faulty damper could also impede airflow thus decreasing energy efficiency.
Bird Nest Removal
Bird nests nesting in chimneys can prevent airflow, leading to smoke spillage or fires in the structure. A chimney sweep can clear away these nests while inspecting its operation to make sure everything is functioning optimally and is safe.
Chimney Swifts construct elongated cup-shaped nests that can become quite elaborate over time, which they usually leave alone until becoming unstable over time and becoming a fire hazard, according to All About Birds. Sweeps monitor for these nests during breeding season and remove them once their work has concluded and the birds have left.
Prior to disturbing any bird nest, it’s essential to remember that many species of birds are protected under federal and state wildlife laws, meaning disturbing the site could incur fines and other penalties. Furthermore, evidence exists suggesting that nest construction behaviors accurately reflect the quality of their building parent(s).
Chimney and masonry companies that excel should offer more than just cleaning services; they should also offer inspections to detect potential problems before they become major headaches for you and your home. Look for companies certified by CSIA or NCSG, industry associations that promote professionalism.
An inspection should include looking for any visible signs of damage to both chimney and masonry structures, including signs of deterioration or structural damage that might require costly repairs or replacement work.
An unsightly chimney can present a fire risk due to the build-up of soot and creosote, which are highly flammable substances that can ignite wood framing or other combustible materials within your house, as well as allow carbon monoxide gasses into your living area. Before making an offer on any home you’re interested in purchasing, be sure to get it inspected by a professional before signing any documents or signing the sales contract.
Clean chimneys not only vent gases and particulates outside of the home, but they also prevent creosote buildup that could ignite house fires or carbon monoxide poisoning if left accumulating over time. Insurance companies now recommend and often require annual chimney inspections and cleanings for homes with wood-burning fireplaces.
An experienced chimney and masonry company will thoroughly examine your chimney for signs of damage, such as cracks, crumbling bricks and loose mortar. Should they identify any problems it is important that these be resolved immediately so as not to further escalate into more serious issues.
Avoid companies that employ scare tactics when selling their services. If someone mentions carbon monoxide poisoning or house fire as reasons to hire their services, get another opinion or find another company. Make sure both you and the company understand exactly what type of work needs to be done on your chimney – for instance if all that’s required is having it cleaned regularly make that clear from the beginning.