How often do you use your fireplace throughout the wintertime? Every once in a while? Pretty frequently? Regardless of the frequency, chimney cleaning is something that must be performed on your fireplace regularly or you are endangering the safety of your family members and increasing the risk of property damage. But how do you know when a chimney cleaning is necessary? Below are four signs that will let you know when a chimney cleaning should be scheduled as soon as possible.
Sign #1: Powerful, Unpleasant Odors
Have you noticed a powerful, pungent odor in the home? Try to figure out where the smell is coming from, and if it is coming from the fireplace, then it is time to schedule a professional cleaning. Now, the actual odor can be caused by a number of things, such as creosote buildup, animal nesting, or even the presence of water in the flue. Regardless, the important thing is that it is taken care of as soon as possible because it will only get worse if it is left untreated.
Sign #2: Rust
Take a look at your chimney. Can you see any visible signs of rust—on the exterior or interior of the chimney? If so, this could indicate that there is water damage. Another explanation is that there is damage to the chimney cap or there are metals present. Regardless of the reason for the rust, the chimney needs to be cleaned to take care of the damage and prevent further damage.
Sign #3: Dull Fires
When you use your fireplace, have you noticed that your fires just aren't going very well? You don't have that vibrant, blazing flame that you expect to have, and the fire just isn't heating up the home as you would expect. Well, the culprit could be a filthy chimney. When the flue is obstructed due to animal nests, soot build-up, or even corrosion, it can keep the gases from being released from the fire from escaping out of the chimney and the oxygen can't travel down to the fire. Cleaning the chimney can restore airflow so that you can have better fires.
Sign #4: Soot Build-up
Another indication that your chimney needs to be cleaned is the build-up of soot. Stick your hand right inside the chimney and touch the interior walls. Bring your hand back out. Is it black? Does it feel oily? If so, then there is soot build-up inside the chimney. If it is not cleaned out quickly and it is left to get worse, there is a risk of a fire. Contact a chimney cleaning service immediately.