Finally, things are heating up again! Now that the weather is improving, it’s a great time to think about maintenance tasks that need to be done before things start cooling down nearing the end of the year once more. Your fireplace worked hard all winter long, so one of the maintenance tasks on your spring to-do list should definitely be a chimney inspection. Because of the lovely weather conditions in spring, it’s one of the best times to get an exterior chimney inspection.
The Best Time to Sweep Your Chimney?
In all honesty, there isn’t one single time of year that’s best for getting your chimney cleaned and inspected, but some seasons are better than others. Regardless of what time of the year it is, however, you should always have your chimney inspected as soon as possible if:
- Your chimney hasn’t been inspected in more than a year. Annual inspections are recommended, as it’s best to have your chimney inspected after every winter to insure it’s still in good shape.
- You just moved into a new house. When you just moved into a new place, there’s no way to tell for sure whether or not the previous home owners took well care of their fireplace and chimney.
- You notice any potential problems. If you notice smoke leaking into your house when you use your fireplace, or if your chimney seems to have cracks, it’s time to have it checked out.
To be safe, you should have carbon monoxide sensors installed in your house. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that happens to be reasonably similar to carbon dioxide in chemical structure. But while carbon dioxide is naturally abundant in the atmosphere, breathing in carbon monoxide can be fatal.
This is because your red blood cells have to ability to chemically bond with oxygen (O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). But while bonding with oxygen and carbon dioxide helps your red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body, bonding with carbon monoxide actually does the opposite. When your red blood cells bond with carbon monoxide, you effectively suffocate, as your body will no longer be getting the oxygen it needs.
Here’s the catch, though. It won’t feel like you’re suffocating. The primary symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning through inhalation are simply feeling light headed, dizzy, or tired. People who die of carbon monoxide poisoning often just fall asleep to never wake up again.
If you often feel more light headed or tired when you’re in the same room as your fireplace, your fireplace might be leaking CO into your home. The best way to know for certain that your fireplace is safe is to install CO sensors, because humans can’t smell, see or detect CO without the proper technology to do so. But having your chimney inspected, cleaned and repaired regularly should significantly reduce the risk of CO leaking into your house through the fireplace.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the dangers of CO poisoning, making it a silent killer.
The Best Season for Chimney Inspections
As stated above, when it comes to chimney inspections, it’s always better to play on the safe side. That said, for practical reasons, some seasons tend to be better for chimney inspections than others.
Spring and summer are perfect for chimney inspections. During these warm seasons, it’s easier to fix any problems that a professional chimney sweep might identify.
For instance, your chimney might be getting water damage from a roof leak. Before you can have your chimney fixed, you should have your roof repaired to avoid future water damage to your chimney. However, winter (or any particularly cold time of the year) isn’t the ideal time to work on your roof.
If you wait till winter for a chimney inspection, you might learn that your chimney isn’t safe to use, but that the work required to fix it should preferably wait till spring.
This will mean that you’ll have to go through winter without using your fireplace, which will probably a bit chilly. Winter is generally less pleasant than springtime and summertime, so not even having the opportunity to snuggle up in front of your fireplace with hot chocolate or a book seems rather dreadful.
But when it comes to the safety of your chimney, you can’t really take any chances. Using your fireplace when your chimney unsafe can literally cause you to burn down your house. While you can try other heating alternatives, you can’t replace your house once it’s burned down, so be sure to be safe rather than sorry. If your chimney is unfit, don’t use your fireplace before your haven’t fixed it.
Where to Find a Chimney Sweep?
Don’t neglect having your chimney inspected by a professional. While you can attempt to clean your own chimney, professional chimney sweeps are specially trained and know what to look for during inspections. So while there’s nothing wrong with cleaning your own chimney on a regular basis (assuming you know how to), you should still have it inspected annually by a chimney professional.
Chimney inspections are important, but unfortunately there are fake chimney sweeps who try to scam people. Most often, these people will require large upfront payments, but they’ll never even come back to look at your chimney.
Ask your chimney sweep about any special training they have. Many chimney sweeps are registered with the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or other official organizations that regulate chimney safety in the US.
But as long as the company sweeping your chimney is a real business, you probably won’t be scammed, so avoid hiring a chimney sweep who doesn’t work for a business that seems real. An online presence, or brick and mortar location both indicate that you’re working with real professionals.
Not sure where to find chimney sweeps in Knoxville, TN? Feel free to book an inspection with Chimney Sweeps West.