In the past, a fireplace was essential for cooking and home heating. Today, it is more of a nice-to-have feature than a necessity. Many people who have fireplaces don’t even use them. Nevertheless, annual chimney evaluations and chimney sweeping Wallkill NY are still a necessity whether you use the fireplace or not.
Consisting mostly of tar, creosote is a byproduct of burning wood. Creosote isn’t all bad; in fact, it is what gives the distinctive scent and flavor to meat that is “smoked.” However, creosote is highly flammable. If left unchecked, creosote builds up in a chimney, where a spark could ignite a fire.
- Animal Encroachment
Many different species of animals look for shelter that provides warmth and safety. Human habitations often provide both. Animals with access to your roof, such as squirrels, raccoons, and birds, may decide that your chimney looks like the perfect new home, especially if it is uncapped and hasn’t been used for a while. These critters are typically looking to build a nest in which to raise their young, and their efforts may clog up the chimney. Their excrement can also cause the chimney to smell bad.
In many older homes, the original chimney has been repurposed to vent gases from furnaces that burn oil or natural gas. In the former case, this can produce soot that can build up in the chimney, while in the latter case, water vapor can carry hazardous chemicals through the chimney. Exposure to these chemicals may cause the liners of the chimney to corrode. This can block the chimney indirectly by causing buildup at the bottom of the flue.
Experts recommend that the chimney be cleaned at least once a year. If you use your fireplace more often, you might want to consider more frequent cleaning. For safety reasons, chimney cleaning is best left to the professionals.