There is nothing quite as relaxing and wonderful as a wood burning fire. Many clients feel their fireplace is a central component of their home. They may even opt to go through the inspection process to take the right steps remove their natural gas fire place and add a chimney to enjoy wood heat once again. The smells, sounds and vibrant shades of flame offer an ambiance that cannot be duplicated with gas. It can even be fun to roast hotdogs or cook baked potatoes in your living room! However, annual chimney maintenance is necessary to ensure that you and your home remain safe. C4U Inspections in Kelowna can help you assess the health and wellbeing of your chimney.
What Is Creosote and How Does It Form?
The black or brown build up by products of combustion that occur when wood burns end up sticking to the inner walls of your chimney. A combination of unburned wood particles, smoke, gases, tar fog, hydrocarbon, water vapour and minerals; exit the hot fireplace through the significantly cooler chimney during a fire. Condensation occurs due to the temperature changes and this residue known as creosote sticks to the chimney walls. A highly flammable substance, creosote can build up and become its’ own fire hazard. The act of chimney sweeping essentially scrapes this substance off of your interior chimney to keep the surface clean and ready to handle future fires safely.
Creosote Build Up In Your Flue
Chimney fires can destroy homes and severely injure or kill the occupants of the house. This scary scenario can be avoided if you ensure your chimney is cleaned out on a regular basis. People who use their fireplace September to March ideally should have their chimney cleaned twice a year. Spring and Fall are perfect times to climb up on the roof and conduct the required maintenance. A metal bristle chimney brush will be used to scrape the creosote build up from the walls of your chimney. It is often wise to cover your fireplace opening by duct taping a garbage bag over the interior to prevent any ash or residue from entering your home. One the chimney sweeping is complete a simple clean up either with a shop vacuum or a broom is adequate.
Avoid Creosote Build Up
There are certain steps you can take to help avoid excessive creosote build up including:
- Don’t burn unseasoned or wet wood
- Ensure there is not a restricted air supply to your chimney by failing to open your damper wide enough or closing glass doors prematurely
- Overloading the fireplace to try and secure longer burn time
- Failing to conduct annual chimney maintenance
Signs of a Chimney Fire
Fires that start within the chimney may occur during the middle of the night when family members are asleep. Remain extra aware of the following:
- An unusual hot, intense smell
- Popping or loud crackling noises
- Dense, thick smoke
- Damage to your damper in the form of warped metal
- Flakes of creosote found on your roof or in your yard
- Collapsed or cracked tiles within your flue or tiles with large pieces missing
- Exterior masonry cracks
- Damaged TV antenna attached to your chimney from excessive heat exposure
- Distorted, rusted or discoloured rain cap
- Honey-combed shaped or puffy looking creosote
Remember, dirty chimneys can lead to chimney fires. Let C4U Inspections help you keep your Okanagan home safe and secure. We are happy to climb your roof on your behalf and provide you a detailed report. This Spring is the ideal time to cross this vital home maintenance chore off of your list of things to do! Call us today to book our services.