There is something so homey and cozy about sitting in front of your fireplace, snuggling up with a good book or playing games with your family. Unfortunately, we don’t often think about the scary side of fireplace ownership: chimney fires. There are other things that can happen that can cause damage to your chimney as well, and the only real way to know that your chimney is safe is to have it inspected at least annually.

Creosote Build-up

When you have your chimney inspected, the professional will be looking for several things. Probably the number one problem that occurs over the course of a winter of using your chimney is creosote build-up. You love using your fireplace, but the more you use it, the greater the chance of a thick build-up of this residue that results from burning wood. When you burn wood in your fireplace, residue is released. GuideOne Insurance explains that, as the water vapor, unburned wood particles, tar fog, and other minerals that are the residual effects of wood burning move up your chimney, they condense onto the cool surface on the inside of your chimney. This thick buildup is extremely flammable and so must be removed.

One way to avoid creosote build-up is to make sure that you burn the correct type of wood. You want to make sure that the wood you burn isn’t too soft, and also that it has been properly dried. Drying is a process that takes at least six months, but a year is even better. The reason for using dry, hard wood is that you can burn a hotter fire this way. A hotter fire makes for less residue released, which makes for less creosote build-up.

Structural Damage

Another thing that your chimney inspector will look for is structural damage. Although chimneys seem to be extremely sturdy and indestructible, there are actually ways that damage can occur. One is through water damage. When precipitation falls, the water can permeate into the mortar that holds the brick or stone together. When the temperature drops below freezing, this water freezes, and that makes the cracks bigger. This process continues throughout the winter, and these cracks can cause structural damage. This is something that your inspector will be able to detect during a thorough inspection.

Another cause of structural damage can actually be chimney fire. It’s a little known fact that a chimney fire can occur without the homeowner even being aware of it. If this happens, it will cause structural damage that is only visible to a certified inspector during the inspection process.

Hire the Best

Although you may think that an inspection is something that can be done on your own, there are many things that an untrained eye just can’t detect. The professionals at Chimney Sweep Plus have the proper equipment to make sure that the job is done right. Don’t trust the safety of your home and your family to anything less than the best; call Chimney Sweep Plus today to set up your annual inspection and cleaning.