Three Warning Signs That Let You Know Your Chimney Needs A Professional Cleaning

If you own a home with a fireplace, it's important to keep your chimney clean and well-maintained. A dirty chimney can be a fire hazard and can also cause health problems if it's not properly ventilated. The last thing you want is for people to be coughing and spluttering when they come over and you try to light a nice, warm fire. While chimney sweepers and cleaners are thought to have been a long-forgotten art, there are still those who practice this occupation and are very good at it too. Here are three warning signs that let you know your chimney requires professional cleaning.

A Soot And Creosote Build-Up

Soot is the black, powdery substance that is produced when wood is burned, and creosote is a tar-like substance that can build up in your chimney over time. If you can see soot or creosote on the inside of your chimney, it's time to have it cleaned. Often it is hard to spot because it builds up slowly over time. However, if you can't really see the sides or back of your chimney that well when you try to look (when there is no fire burning, of course), there is a pretty good chance the chimney is obscured due to soot and creosote.

The Fireplace Creates A Strong And Unpleasant Smell

If you can smell quite a bitter and stinging odor coming from your chimney (both when it is on and when it has been put out), then this is also an obvious sign of too much soot and creosote build-up. The issue with these materials on the side of your chimney is that they are very flammable and corrosive. Over time they can cause the interior of your fireplace to either breakdown, allowing smoke and embers into your home, or they can catch on fire themselves. If you can smell something awful and sour, don't delay in calling for chimney cleaners. 

Time Since Last Use

It's generally recommended to have your chimney cleaned every year or more often if you use it frequently. If you haven't had your chimney cleaned in a while, it's time to schedule a professional to come in and make it tidy once again. Even if you haven't used your fireplace in some time, there can be a build-up of flammable particles and dust that will create quite toxic smoke and can be very disgusting when you light a fire. The next time you want to use your fireplace and it's been a few years, make sure you get it cleaned first. 

For more info, contact local chimney cleaners.