First let me say that your chimney is a working piece of equipment just like other appliances in your home or even like your vehicle. You don’t run your clothes dryer for years without cleaning the lint screen, and you don’t run your car for years between oil changes. Changing the oil in your car keeps everything lubed up and the engine running smoothly. We can even go as far as to say that oil changes are the lifeblood of your vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle will last more than double the life of a vehicle that isn’t maintained on schedule.
Homeowners need to have that same mentality when it comes to home maintenance and chimney cleaning and inspection. A regular chimney inspection can reveal potential problems before they become an issue. This gives you plenty of time to repair the chimney before small problems become big problems.
It’s near the middle of November now and chimney sweeps are excessively busy this time of year. That’s why we always recommend scheduling your chimney inspection and cleaning for spring or summer. We have been very busy since early October and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down until mid January. Scheduling your chimney inspection or cleaning early prevents scheduling conflicts with other homeowners in the area.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that the chimney be inspected at least once a year even if you never use it. This fact confuses some people. They feel like it’s a money racket, but let me explain:
- Chimney Blockage: Air flows through your chimney whether you use it or not. Small animals and birds often seek refuge from storms or predators inside the chimney unless there’s a chimney cap. This can lead to foul smells coming from the chimney, especially if an animal becomes trapped in there and dies. Regular inspection can find nests and animals before this becomes an issue.
- Cracks in the Flue or Masonry: The chimney takes a lot of damage from the weather. The wind, rain, snow, and ice cause chimney damage, and even the temperature plays a part in damaging the chimney. An unused chimney can suffer enough elemental damage to cause collapse even if it hasn’t been used in years. Regular inspections can catch chimney damage before it becomes too severe.
- Chimney Cap, Crown, Flashing: The chimney crown is designed in such a way that it redirects rain water away from the opening. The chimney cap further protects the chimney opening by literally acting as a cap or a hat that also directs water away and protects the chimney from animals and birds. The flashing protects the roof from water runoff. A problem with any of these items can create problems with the structural stability of the chimney itself. A regular inspection will catch these problems before they go too far.
Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a consultation. Our chimney experts at Lou Curley’s Chimney service are CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified. You’re sure to get the best quality care when you call us for a consultation, chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, or chimney repair.