You love your fireplace. Your family loves your fireplace. But at this time of year, there’s only one person whose opinion really matters. No. Not your mom – it’s Santa Claus, of course! He’s the one that’s going to be seeing the interior of your chimney up close and personal. Therefore, you want to make sure that it’s clean and in great repair. The best way to do this is to make sure that your chimney is inspected, swept, and repaired on an annual basis.
If you use your fireplace often throughout the winter, you can be sure that the interior of your chimney is looking pretty grimy. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), your chimney is the funnel through which the by-products of your fire leave the house. These by-products include water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, tar fog, hydrocarbon, and smoke. As they exit the house, some may condense onto the cooler surface of your chimney. This sticky mess is called creosote, and it is extremely flammable. If this creosote is left year after year, it can be a fire just waiting to happen. This is one thing that your chimney sweep company will take care of during your annual chimney cleaning.
Another thing that your chimney sweep company will look for is structural damage. Nothing can put a damper on Santa’s trip down the chimney like structural damage to your chimney. What can cause structural damage to a chimney? One of the biggest offenders is precipitation. When you live in cold temperatures, the freeze/thaw cycle can wreak havoc on your chimney. The CSIA website explains it like this: When precipitation gets into the mortar that’s holding your bricks or stones together and then freezes, it expands and causes cracks in the mortar. When it thaws and more precipitations happens, it gets back into those cracks, freezes again, and those cracks get even bigger. This can be a continuous cycle, causing structural damage to occur.
The Best Defense
The best defense you can get to avoid structural damage or creosote build-up is to hire the very best to perform your annual inspection, cleaning and repairs. And when you need the best, your first call should be to Michael’s Chimney Service. A couple of questions that Angie’s List suggests you should ask before hiring a chimney sweep company are: How long the company has been in business? In addition, most importantly – are the sweeps CSIA certified?
Michael’s Chimney Service has been in service for nearly a decade. They offer all levels of chimney care and maintenance; from sweepings and NFPA inspections to stove installation and chimney rebuilds. Michael’s crew members are not only certified by the CSIA, they also maintain memberships with the Northeast Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association and with the National Chimney Sweep Guild. So when you call Michael’s, you know that you are getting quality, knowledgeable service. Not only will your mother approve, but so will that jolly old elf that will soon be sliding down your chimney!