It’s that time of year: The temperatures have dropped and homeowners are ready to entertain their families and friends around a warm, glowing hearth. Before you light your fireplace, however, you need to have your chimney swept and inspected. Every fire prevention and hearth safety organization recommends that you take this step before you light a fire each season. But why is chimney sweeping so important?

Chimney Cleaning Prevents FiresChimney Sweeping Image - Asheville NC - Environmental Chimney Service

The No. 1 reason to have your chimney swept before you light a fire is to prevent a dangerous and damaging chimney fire. As the adage goes: “Clean chimneys don’t catch fire.” That’s because tens of thousands of home fires are caused each year by dirty chimneys. When you burn a fire, flammable creosote builds up in your chimney. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, animals and debris can make their way into your chimney and form obstructions. Debris in your chimney, or creosote, can ignite do to the extreme heat or stray embers that travel up the chimney when you light a fire.

Lower the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Whatever type of fireplace you have — wood burning, gas or pellet — an annual chimney cleaning is crucial to prevent the dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide poisoning in your house. The same obstructions that can lead to chimney fires also can block carbon monoxide from exiting through your chimney. That means each time you burn a fire, the carbon monoxide is forced back into your home, where it can build up to dangerous levels and sicken you, your family or your pets.

Get Rid of Chimney Odors

Your chimney is part of your home’s air circulation system. If you have odor causing materials in your chimney, those smells can be pulled inward with the air and fill your home. Natural debris, animal nests or dropping, entrapped animals and even soot and creosote in your chimney all can introduce foul odors to your home. A chimney cleaning removes any odor-causing debris and help prevent chimney odors from filling your home.

Chimney Cleaning Identifies Problems

One of the most crucial elements of your annual chimney sweeping is that annual chimney inspection that should accompany it. Your annual chimney inspection will include a visual check of your fireplace and chimney, and an inspection to make sure that all working components of the fireplace and chimney are working as they should. When you skip your annual chimney sweeping, and thus your annual chimney inspection, you miss the opportunity to catch chimney or fireplace damage or deterioration before it worsens to create a much larger, expensive, or even dangerous, problem.

Before you gather your family and friends around your hearth this holiday season, call Environmental Chimney Service to schedule your cleaning and inspection! We’ll make sure your chimney and fireplace are clear and safe to use all season long.