Chimney CapYour family’s safety depends on the decisions you make on a daily basis. You likely have a schedule for insuring that all windows and doors lock securely, all fire alarms work properly, and everyone is familiar with emergency procedures; but do you have a schedule for chimney cleaning?

Do you need to clean your chimney every year? The simple answer to that question is yes. Many homeowners believe that if they don’t use their fireplace on a regular basis it doesn’t need to be cleaned or inspected on a regular basis. Unfortunately this isn’t true. A chimney that is rarely used could be considered prime real estate for local wildlife. Bird or rodent nests are very good reasons to schedule a chimney cleaning every year.

Debris, such as leaves or materials that small animals use to make nests, creates dangerous blockages that can fill your home with smoke quite quickly. Smoke inhalation is of course dangerous and potentially deadly to every member of your family. Don’t fool yourself into believing that your fireplace and chimney are safe simply because they are rarely used. An annual inspection provides the peace of mind you need in order to use your chimney without constantly worrying that something could go wrong.

Most homeowners find it easier and more convenient to schedule a chimney cleaning for the same time they are inspecting other household safety items. For example: when reviewing emergency exit drills, and checking fire alarm batteries and fire extinguishers… continue the trend and include a chimney cleaning and inspection as part of your annual fire protection and safety ritual.

Extra precautions may be made to ensure that your chimney is working efficiently. The type of wood you burn, and your burning methods, play large roles in the number of times your chimney needs to be cleaned per year. Burning wet wood or wood that isn’t properly cured, for example, creates a buildup inside your chimney.

Tips for Chimney Care and Safety

Make sure all potential debris, including tree limbs, is at least 15 feet away at all times.
Install a chimney cap to prevent animals from entering.
Always allow wood to dry thoroughly, this means at least six months to a year.
Never burn treated wood or Christmas trees, as they have not had time to dry and season.

From the Lou Curley family to yours… Happy Spring!