A considerable amount of house fires in Mercer County are caused when creosote cakes up up on the interior of a chimney. Despite that fact, many homeowners continue to disregard this significant risk, and don’t take preventative measures when it comes to Mercer County chimney cleaning. When houses were heated by fireplaces only, prior to the Industrial Revolution, chimney sweeps were in demand as 19th century homeowners realized how important a clean chimney was for avoiding house fires.
Mercer County Chimney Cleaning
In the 21st century, avoiding a house fire is just as important. Even though most contemporary homeowners use their fireplaces for coziness or have remote controlled natural gas flames to fuel their fires, the majority still use wood to burn and are susceptible to creosote buildup in their dampers and flues. Homeowners are urged to have their chimneys inspected for creosote buildup and a chimney cleaning if necessary in the spring of each year.
Chimney fires are characterized by loud cracking or popping noises and a lot of dense smoke from the flue, but often times go undetected by the homeowner. Chimney fires are often explosive, and it is common for neighbors to hear the explosions and alert the homeowner. Chimney fires can burn at extremely high temperatures (up to 2,000 degrees F).
These super-hot fires will weaken masonry chimney structure after creosote residue builds up in sufficient quantities. The conditions that tend to attract creosote buildup include the natural lack of air supply in chimneys, burning wood that lacks enough seasoning, and cool chimney temperatures that occur in four-season environments. Overloading your firebox to get longer fires can also contribute to creosote residue buildup in your chimney.
So, how often do chimney fires happen? Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) statistics indicate there are more than 25,000 chimney fires annually in the US. These cause over $125 million in property damage, but, if they spread to occupied homes the measurement of human deaths and injuries is impossible to compute.
How Often Should You Get Mercer County Chimney Cleaning Service?
You should have an annual chimney inspection by a reputable Mercer County chimney sweep organization. Depending on how often you use your fireplace to burn wood, creosote residue will build up in your chimney. There are many factors that influence the amount of creosote stuck to the walls of your chimney, such as the volume of airflow into your chimney and burning improperly seasoned wood, which encourage such a buildup. Creosote will also buildup in the flue if you have unburned wood in the firebox.
There is not a “hard and firm” rule of thumb on how often to clean your chimney. An examination by an experienced chimney sweep is the only way to learn if your chimney, whether masonry or metal, needs a cleaning.
Modern prefabricated metal chimneys are specially treated to withstand the high temperatures of a chimney fire without suffering severe damage. Should they suffer damage from a chimney fire, the professional recommendation is to no longer use the chimney until you replace the unit.
Forms of Preventative Maintenance:
A common homeowner question: “How can I maintain the safety of my chimney between professional cleanings to avoid chimney fires?” There are things homeowners can do to better avoid often dangerous chimney fires. Here are a few steps Mercer County homeowners can take:
- Do not let ashes gather in the firebox. Clean them out if they are accumulating.
- Be sure to only use seasoned firewood in your fireplace. If you gather it yourself, season it for a year or more before you burn it. If you buy it from a vendor, ensure that the firewood company only offers seasoned wood.
- Ensure the damper is entirely open BEFORE lighting a fire in the firebox.
- Do not burn pressure-treated or painted wood in the fireplace. This will hasten creosote buildup (pressure-treated wood) or potentially create toxic fumes (painted wood) that are dangerous to your family members.
- Put the largest logs on the bottom of the firebox, followed by smaller logs on top. Why? The fire will burn hotter and produce less smoke. Top that pile with kindling (around one inch) and crushed newspaper to get the fire started properly. This method will retard residue buildup in your chimney.
- Have an annual inspection of your chimney by a professional. Hire an experienced, reliable chimney sweep to mechanically clean your chimney, removing tar and creosote.
Can Just Use “Chimney Sweeping Logs?”
It is not really the logs that do much, but the chemicals within them. Some “chimney sweeping log” products claim to assist retarding creosote buildup, and some of them do so. Those that are somewhat effective in maintaining your chimney between cleanings contain chemicals similar to the chemicals used by chimney sweeps for professional cleanings.
The chemicals are carried up the flue by the rising exhaust from the safe fire in your fireplace. These logs break down the residue coating the inside of your chimney, but many experts have a problem with the marketing strategy for these products.
If you read the “fine print” disclosures for these logs, you will see that the chemicals imbedded in them are labelled “might reduce creosote by as much as 60 percent.” However, experts refute this by saying, “The use of chimney sweeping logs alone is not an adequate substitute for mechanical chimney cleaning and inspection because it does not provide for the same level of protection to the chimney system. Every time you burn wood in your fireplace or wood stove, tar and creosote are formed and over time build up on the inside of your chimney.”
The bottom line is to not rely solely on chimney sweeping logs rather than hiring a professional Mercer County chimney sweep to clean your chimney. While they can help you maintain your chimney between professional chimney sweep cleanings, they do not replace the need for regular chimney inspections and cleanings.
Looking for the Best Mercer County Chimney Sweep?
If you’re looking for the best Mercer County chimney sweep, contact St John Chimney Sweeps right away. At St John Chimney Sweeps we offer 100% customer satisfaction. We have been in business for over 15 years, and St John Chimney Sweeps is the only name you need to know for a full-service chimney sweeping and installation in the New Jersey area. Our employees have had extensive training and have earned many certificates that help them do their job with full expertise. We are efficient and provide a full explanation of the work we need to complete. Our licensed and insured company is also a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. We have been supplying expert sweeps, repairs and installation services to homeowners all across the state of New Jersey. Call us at (609)737-0133 to find out more about our free estimates. Let us take care of all your chimney needs!