Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to safely contain wood-fuel fires and provide heat and ambiance for your home as cold weather comes to Virginia. Your chimney has the job of moving the by-products of combustion such as smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog, and assorted minerals away from your home. As these by-products exit the fireplace or woodstove and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation creates a residue that sticks to the chimney's inner walls is called creosote.
How creosote causes chimney fires
With each burn in your fireplace, creosote builds layer upon layer. If you do not have your chimney professionally cleaned each year, you run the danger of that build-up catching on fire and spreading to other areas of your home.
Watch to how creosote created a devastating fire in August of 2020 for a celebrity chef:
Why you should hire a chimney professional
Chimney fires account for 75% of home heating fires. Clean chimneys don't catch fire. The best way to prevent a chimney fire is to have an annual inspection and cleaning performed by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. A professional chimney service will not just take care of creosote deposits, it will also ensure structural soundness and correct clearances.
We know what you’re thinking. What a pain in the ash!
Or maybe you're thinking: I really don't want to spend the money. Do I really need to pay someone to have my fireplace or wood stove inspected and cleaned?
YES! Here’s why:
- It’s a really difficult job that is both messy and dangerous!
- This deeper level cleaning removes flammable creosote build-up where you can’t reach.
- Professionals have expert knowledge and special equipment.
- A qualified specialist will ensure your chimney is structurally sound.
- They can make sure the top of your chimney is free from moisture, critters, and debris and you have a good spark arrestor cap.
What does it cost to have your chimney cleaned?
The average cost of professional chimney cleaning and inspection is $80-$150. Don’t skimp here. It’s peace of mind and basic maintenance. Even gas fireplaces need to be inspected and cleaned. Remember the increased home fire risks that come with these heating heroes!
We know from decades of experience here at NNINS that fire loss is the most costly home insurance claim. The good news is they are also the most avoidable. Don't miss our helpful articles about maintaining your fireplace and wood stove throughout the fall and winter months.