Your fireplace is likely the centerpiece of your home, tucked cozily in the family room, gathering friends and family for most of the year. And yet, for something so visible, there is a component many homeowners neglect – the chimney. Whenever you find yourself enjoying a roaring fire in the fireplace, your chimney and its accompanying parts get another layer of soot and creosote (a highly flammable substance created from burning wood), which over time build up and creates the need for cleaning. If you allow the build up to continue without regularly cleaning, the chances of a chimney fire in your home is greatly increased. A chimney fire can quickly spread to your roof and engulf your home in a matter of minutes. Fires bring not only property loss, but also the risk of injury and even death, most of which could be prevented. One way to keep your family safe from a house fire is to have your chimney regularly inspected and cleaned. Let’s explore what you, as a homeowner need to know about chimney cleaning.
The Importance of Having the Chimney Inspected and Cleaned
When you use your chimney regularly, it should be inspected and cleaned annually. The Chimney Safety Institute recommends cleaning when you see as little as 1/8 inch of buildup which can occur quickly in colder climates where the fireplace and chimney is used more frequently. In addition, the National Fire Code of Canada states:
“Every chimney, flue, and flue pipe shall be inspected to identify any dangerous condition at intervals not greater than 12 months, at the time of addition of any appliance, and after any chimney fire. A chimney, flue, or flue pipe shall be replaced or repaired to eliminate any structural deficiency or decay, and all abandoned or unused openings that are not effectively sealed in a manner that would prevent the passage of fire or smoke. Chimneys, flues, and flue pipes shall be cleaned as often as necessary to keep them free from dangerous accumulations of combustible deposits.”
The inspection will determine the structural integrity of your chimney, identify animals that may have taken up residence inside, and conclude the extent of cleaning needed. You can also identify when you chimney needs cleaning by the length of time that has passed since your last cleaning (over a year and it’s time to clean), if you notice an unusual smell or reduced efficiency, or if you have recently purchased a home in which the chimney has been used.
The Benefits of Chimney Cleaning
As mentioned, with every fire in the fireplace, smoke is produced and soot and creosote adhere to the inside of your chimney flue, which can, in turn, lead to a house fire, endangering your home and your family. Cleaning your chimney as recommended in the National Fire Code of Canada guidelines is the best approach to keeping your family safe. You can, in fact, clean your chimney yourself, but it is a lengthy process and a challenging undertaking better left to the professionals.
In addition to reducing the risks of a chimney fire in your home, having your chimney cleaned also offers additional benefits. These benefits include keeping dangerous toxins out of your home and away from your family, increasing the efficiency of your fireplace, and extending the life of your chimney.
When your chimney needs attention, turn to the industry professionals at Turnbull Masonry to keep your home and family safe. Summer and early fall offer the ideal time to have your Toronto area chimney inspected and cleaned before you begin using it again.