We’re nearing the end of the holiday season! And while Christmas and New Years will soon be behind us, that doesn’t mean your fireplace usage has to stop. In fact, here in Worcester, we’ve still got a few months of cold, snowy weather ahead of us, so we’re guessing you’ll be putting your system to use for many weeks ahead.

Heavier burners are known for going through about 2 – 3 full chords of wood per burning season. A full chord of wood is 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet high, so going through 3 of these means running a lot of wood through your chimney in a relatively short period of time.

Because of this, it can be well worth your time to invest in a mid-season chimney sweeping. Not only do sweepings ensure your system is running efficiently, but they can make a big impact on the safety of your household, as well.

Learn more below, then call on you to schedule your sweeping today. We’d love to have your back every step of the way!

The Dangers of Creosote Buildup

One of the biggest threats your chimney faces is creosote accumulation. Creosote forms from the byproducts of wood combustion (smoke, water vapor, hydrocarbon, tar fog, etc.). As these near the top of your chimney where things are cooler, condensation forms. This causes some of these fumes to cling to the inner walls of your flue, thus forming a sticky residue we call creosote.Invest in a Mid-Season Sweeping - Worcester MA - Firesafe

Creosote can be black or brown, and depending on how your fires burn and the overall health of your chimney, it can be flaky and easy to remove or more tar-like and sticky. Or, if things are really not looking good, it will eventually become hardened and glossy. This is known as glazed creosote and it takes special tools and products to safely remove it.

No matter what type of creosote you have, one thing always remains true – it is highly flammable. And the more you have the higher your risk is of experiencing a chimney fire.

Now, your firebox is built to withstand the intense heat of your fireplace fires, but your chimney is not. Direct contact with flames will result in your masonry breaking down and cracking, your mortar joints melting, and your metal chimney components warping. You may notice damage to your roofing materials and other nearby areas, as well.

Things to Know About Chimney Fires

Looking for more insight into chimney fires? Here are some important facts:

  • Chimney fires aren’t typically loud events. This is important to note because most assume that if they’ve had a chimney fire they would definitely know it. This usually isn’t the case and, in fact, many will continue using their system totally unaware that a chimney fire has occurred at all. (This is a big reason why annual inspections are so vital!)
  • Using your fireplace after a chimney fire is simply not an option. You could experience smoke and carbon monoxide leaks, and your adjacent woodwork will be more prone to ignite, too, since your chimney walls are broken down and vulnerable.
  • Some indicators that a chimney fire is occurring include a loud cracking/popping noise, a low rumbling noise, a lot of thick smoke, or a really intense burning smell. Some are also very noisy and even explosive, with visible flames shooting out of the top of the chimney. Again, this is less common, but it happens.
  • Signs that a chimney fire has already occurred in the past include puffy/honeycombed creosote, discolored/warped metal components, smoke in your home when fires are lit, visible creosote flakes on the ground, damaged chimney/roofing materials, and cracks in your masonry.
  • Investing in a professional chimney sweeping performed by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep is the best way to ensure you don’t experience a chimney fire.

How Chimney Clogs Put You at Risk

Another big reason why regular chimney sweepings are important is to remove any clogs that are present. Creosote can definitely clog things up, but it’s not the only thing that can find its way into your flue. Things like leaves, twigs, and other outside debris can work its way in, too. And sometimes animals drag in nesting materials, in hopes of setting up a warm, protected space for their young.

Mid-Season Sweeping - Worcester MA - Firesafe ChimneyWhatever you have in your flue, be it trash that was blown in, unwelcome materials brought in by animals, or even the actual critters themselves, getting it all out before lighting fires is essential.

Not only are most of these items flammable, increasing your risk of chimney fires, but they will greatly impact draft and airflow, too, leaving you with less productive fires and other potential risks, like smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide exposure.

In the end, a clear pathway for fumes to escape out of your chimney is vital to enjoying safe and efficient fires throughout the holiday season and the rest of winter.

It’s also imperative that you invest in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These should be placed on every level of your home, outside of bedrooms, and they should be interconnected so that if one goes off, they all go off. It’s also important to check the batteries every 6 months and replace the detectors every 10 years.

Need Care Soon? Give Us a Call Today!

Don’t let holiday festivities turn into a disaster or tragedy. Turn to us to get your sweeping in before your next get-together! We’d love to set you up right.

Call our certified sweeps at 413-436-7946 today.