Ever since Dick Van Dyke bounced from rooftop to rooftop as Bert in Disney's classic film, Mary Poppins, the phrase chimney sweep conjures up images of sooty men speaking with a strong English accent, and resting a long-handled brush over their shoulder.
These people do exist outside of Hollywood, and modern chimney sweeps do much more than just brush out soot. Their services can help maintain the appearance and upkeep of a home, and ensure the owners and their families live in a healthy, safe environment.
Having regular maintenance on all chimneys will be an added feature when you are in a position to sell your home. Buyers will know that not only can they enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace, they will be sure their home is safe from fire or other dangers, such as carbon monoxide poisoning.
Keeping your fireplace healthy:
Many homeowners do not realize that repeated burning of fires will create a buildup of residue (creosote) on the chimney walls. Creosote and ash in your chimney is a recipe for disaster. This combination is highly flammable and is the main cause of chimney fires, which at worst, could ignite the entire house. That is why it is so important to have your chimney inspected annually.
Services from chimney sweep companies can include:
Removal of creosote from fireplaces
Inspecting furnace flues for blockages, and removing if required
Repairing deteriorating chimney masonry
Installing lining in chimneys for damage repair or prevention of problems
Adding stainless steel chimney caps to prevent water damage, and access for birds or animals
Removing animals that have become trapped in chimneys
Handling a chimney fire:
Most chimney fires are first detected by a loud, roaring noise, rather than smoke in the home. As the fire is fed by air being pulled up the chimney, dark smoke will be seen billowing out, and often followed by sparks or even flames.
If this situation occurs in your home, here are some steps to follow:
Call 911 immediately and get all occupants out of the house.
If it is safe, the first thing you can do is close the fireplace doors, or the draft control on a wood stove.
If possible, spray water on the roof, but avoid the hot chimney to avoid more damage.
As you can see, chimney maintenance is critical, not only to keep your home safe from fire consequences, but to also maintain the structure itself and keep your home in the best shape it can be.
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