It may sound old-fashioned now, but chimney sweeping and cleaning is still an important job in the 21st Century. Naturally, most of the chimneys that need to be cleaned out are attached to wood-burning fireplaces, but that isn’t always the case. Nearly every modern home has a chimney, whether it is attached to a fireplace or a furnace, and you need to know when you should have your own chimney inspected and cleaned.
Why Clean Your Chimney?
The biggest reason to clean your chimney is to remove the creosote that builds up inside of it. Creosote is a highly flammable material that is produced when wood is burned. It can appear as light-gray soot or a black tarry substance that can be difficult to remove. It forms whenever wood is burned, although certain types of wood create more creosote than others. For example, pine produces more creosote than most other kinds of wood and should not be burned in a chimney. It only takes a small amount of creosote to start a fire, so it is important to have it removed when you see it.
How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney?
Unfortunately, there is no definite rule about how often to clean your chimney, so the best way to decide when it’s time is to have your chimney inspected by a chimney sweep. These professionals will take a look at your chimney liner, firebox, and smoke chamber to determine how much creosote has built up and if it should be removed. It is recommended that you have your chimney inspected at least once a year. Most homeowners take this time to have their chimneys cleaned out even if there is a minimal buildup of creosote at the time. If you use your furnace or fireplace more often, your chimney will almost certainly need to be cleaned more often.
Of course, this also means that you need to find a reliable chimney inspection service to take a look at your chimney every year. A Google search for “chimney inspection Maryland” will certainly reveal plenty of results, but you should take care when hiring anyone to clean out your chimney. Ask about the techniques they use, and make sure they do more than just run a brush down your chimney to remove the surface-level soot. Creosote can be difficult to remove completely, but the right company will scrub the inside of your heating system and leave it as good as new.