Did you know different countries have policies governing how often you chimney sweep? Yes.
That’s how crucial chimney sweeps really are. In the United States, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires all homeowners to inspect their chimneys, vents, and fireplaces at least once a year for soundness, correct clearances, and freedom from deposits.
They further recommend regular maintenance and repair procedures whenever necessary. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) recommends quarterly cleaning when chimneys are regularly used, and annual cleaning when using smokeless fuel or gas and oil fireplaces.
In line with these policies, when deciding how often is it recommended to chimney sweep, you need to look out for the regulations set out by recognized institutions in your region.
Factors to consider about how often should you sweep your chimney
Though recommended annually in most regions, you may end up cleaning your chimney more often than that. How often you chimney sweep all comes down to a variety of factors.
Regular use of the fireplace, especially during cold seasons, comes with soot and creosote buildup. Like all other damages, if left for long periods, the buildup increases exposing your home to various dangers, including structural damages and fire.
If you have just moved to a new house, carry out a chimney inspection as a precautionary measure. This is of particular importance if past chimney sweep details are unavailable. Such inspection will make you aware of when you need to sweep your chimney.
If your chimney has been dormant for a long time, we recommend that you sweep it once you resume usage.
Prolonged dormancy may lead to birds and bats nesting in your chimney, increasing the probabilities of fires. Notwithstanding, since every chimney is different, you need to understand yours to know how often to chimney sweep.
6 Signs your chimney needs a sweep
Alongside understanding your chimney’s uniqueness, you should never overlook the following six signs:
- A foul smell emanating from the fireplace
- Smelling smoke after lighting a fire
- The area surrounding your fireplace appears darker.
- Pests and birds are living in the chimney
- Soot is dropping into the fireplace
- Your fires are weak, and burning wood produces more smoke than usual.
These signs often mean the thickness of soot in your chimney is beyond 1/8th. This is considered enough sooty buildup to cause a chimney fire and associated damages.
What happens if you avoid chimney sweeps?
How often you sweep your chimney shouldn’t be debatable. Failure to clean may come with a series of unpleasant consequences including blockages, and buildup of the highly flammable creosote on your chimney flue.
When using gas or wood, you risk exposure to harmful combustion gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Instead of releasing these gases into the atmosphere, an ineffective chimney channels them back to the house. Over-exposure to these harmful gases may pose a threat to your respiratory health.
Each year, you need to schedule how often you chimney sweep depending on the factors mentioned above. Staying on top of your chimney cleaning will keep your home safe in the long term. It also doubles up as the most cost-effective solution for your home