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As summer has rolled away, it's time to think about the cool, crisp fall evenings. Who doesn't love to cozy up to a warm, crackling fire in the fireplace on those brisk evenings? This relaxing ambiance needs to take a back seat to your family's safety. The importance of chimney and fireplace cleaning and maintenance cannot be stressed enough. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends your chimney be cleaned and inspected professionally once a year at minimum. When was the last time your fireplace and chimney has had some TLC? If it's been over a year, it is highly recommended you have them inspected for "soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearance," according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America. It is highly important to keep your chimney and venting system in mind as an integral part of the overall efficient heating system of your home.
Chimney Fires Destroy Homes
Creosote buildup ignites at about 451 degrees F, and expands like a foam sealant. In less than a minute, it builds to more than 2,000 degrees F and can engulf your entire chimney and destroy your home.
DO's and DONT'S of chimney cleaning:
1. Consult the professionals. "Soot in your chimney is like plaque on your teeth. It's not going anywhere until you get a professional to clean it off, " says Kurt Soens, president of Wisconsin based chimney cleaning company, Smoke Stacks. A chimney inspection can be a few hundred dollars depending on the amount of work required, not including any repairs needed. The knowledge and experience of professionally trained chimney sweeps will give the homeowner peace of mind. Certified chimney sweeps are trained to recognize deterioration and venting issues. The Montuori Group has referrals to professionals in this field and would be glad to share their contact information.
2. Get an inspection. If you decide to clean your own chimney and fireplace, be sure to get a professional inspection prior to cleaning as well as afterwards. Safety is always first priority. Removing ordinary soot is pretty simple, however is there is heavy creosote buildup, a professional will be needed. An inspection is recommended every year; if you burn "wet" "green" logs, your chimney should be inspected ever 50 burns, dry hardwoods every 70 burns.
3. Vacuum the floor, not the chimney. The chimney sweep does use a vacuum devise that is custom made, specifically for fireplaces and chimneys. The typical home vacuum is definitely not equipped to handle this type of cleaning and could potentially be ruined by the attempt. A specific ash vacuum can be purchased for this particular type of cleaning of airborne soot and ash at home improvement stores.
4. Purchase a chimney cleaning kit. These include brushes, rods that will extend into the chimney and instructions. They will typically be a few hundred dollars at a home repair store, which might be as expensive as hiring a professional, but can be used over and over again, which could result in savings over time.
5. Cover up. Minimize the mess. Lay canvas tarps over the hearth, cover all furniture and flooring.Tape poly sheeting over the fireplace and seal everything with duct tape. Make sure you cover yourself up as well. Don't forget the mask to protect yourself from inhaling the materials.
6. No short cuts. Follow instructions to make sure you're doing the cleaning correcting and effectively. A chimney fire is highly dangerous and is not something to be taken lightly. Use caution and care for your safety and the safety of your home.
To find out more about the real estate market in the Sacramento area, please call The Montuori Group 916-562-0788 and receive a free consultation. No obligations; we are available 8 days a week!