Is a chimney sweep necessary for winter? Most people start lighting their fireplaces as the weather gets chilly. Who doesn’t enjoy snuggling by a roaring fire on a cold, dreary night? A fireplace can be a functional space that creates a warm, pleasant atmosphere in your home. But without proper maintenance, it can be hazardous and cause severe damage.  

Winter may be weeks away, but it’s never too early to get your home winter-ready. Adequately preparing your home should include a professional chimney inspection and cleaning. Even if you don’t use your fireplace, it’s essential to check your chimney annually, preferably before the coldest months of the year. 

Here, we’ll discuss why it is necessary to schedule chimney sweep services for the upcoming winter season. 

Avoid a house fire

Imagine you didn’t clean your chimney and its components regularly. In a wood-burning fireplace, the chimney and its flue usually funnel out toxic gases, smoke, tar fumes, water vapors, hydrocarbons, and other byproducts of burning wood. But without a thorough sweeping, all of those harmful elements would accumulate inside the chimney. 

When those particles meet cold air, that reaction forms an oily, flammable substance, creosote, along the chimney walls. Once that happens, your risk of a house fire increases. If you want to avoid such a dangerous situation, hiring a chimney sweep before the weather cools down is your best option.

A gas fireplace can also cause an explosive house fire if you neglect its maintenance. You don’t have to worry about creosote buildup in a gas fireplace, but you do have to be on the lookout for faulty components. With an appropriate amount of time, a chimney sweep can make the necessary repairs and remove obstructions that pose a fire risk so you can have a working fireplace when you need it most.

Eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

If you attempt to use your fireplace without executing a routine inspection, you risk not only a chimney fire but also carbon monoxide poisoning. Before the cold hits, a sweep will be able to easily remove any obstructions that may block fumes from traveling outside your home. Getting a certified professional to check your chimney before the winter months ensures your safety from this odorless, tasteless gas.    

Identify damage and enhance performance

Chimneys can sustain a lot of damage, especially during the winter. Heavy winds and precipitation usually batter the outside of the chimney, while extreme heat and harsh chemicals from the fire wear down the interior. Arranging an inspection with an expert earlier in the year gives you plenty of time to assess and address all chimney-related issues before the first snowfall. 

However, if you decide to forgo a chimney inspection, you risk further damage to an already compromised chimney. By winter, snow and other moisture can seep into the cracks and broken seals, which could lead to highly expensive repairs in the future or render your fireplace unusable.

Instead, it would be more cost-effective to use a chimney sweep service. Not only will your chimney undergo careful inspection, cleaning, and repairs, but the sweep can also make helpful recommendations such as:

  • How to build safe and efficient fires, which produce more heat and less harmful emissions;
  • Which wood to burn to reduce poor air quality;
  • What types of tools and equipment are necessary to maintain your fireplace; and 
  • How to decorate your fireplace without creating a fire hazard.

Avert water damage

Another reason to hire a professional before winter arrives is to secure your chimney from water damage. If any of the components that generally protect your chimney from water have deteriorated, a chimney sweep would be the ideal person to restore those components and re-seal any cracks or holes. 

You may even want to discuss adding a waterproof solution or chimney cap with the sweep. That way, your chimney will be able to withstand any heavy precipitation like melting snow or freezing rain.

Improve air quality

The air quality in your home can have a significant impact on your health. That is why it is critical to ensure your chimney functions correctly during the winter when people spend more time indoors. And if you delay too long, your chimney can end up developing unpleasant odors from the blockages, creosote, water damage, and trapped fumes and smoke. Chimney sweeping can remove anything that may be causing terrible smells, thereby improving your home’s air quality.

Count on Brick + Ember Outfitters for your chimney sweep and inspection

If you want to take advantage of your fireplace all winter long, we suggest booking an appointment with our team of professionals right away. Delaying the process will make it more difficult to enjoy the perks of having a fireplace. Plus, it could end up costing you more in terms of money and your health. Let us help you get your fireplace ready for another winter. Contact us to schedule your chimney sweep and inspection today!