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Get your Chimney Swept for the New Year

The New Year has brought with it some bitterly cold temperatures, finally sending the last few people still willing to brave the cold back inside. Staying warm in this weather does not just involve getting indoors. Once inside, people might retreat under blankets or crank up the furnace. For others, keeping toasty might involve lighting up a hot fire in the wood stove or fireplace. With that luxury, however, comes some regular upkeep. The National Fire Protection Association has fire safety codes that mandate a yearly chimney sweep to keep chimneys functioning safely. Fireplaces that experience heavier use could use more frequent sweeps, according to the experts. If it has been more than a year since the last sweep, make it a New Year’s resolution to have that sweep done soon.

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Chimney sweeps serve a couple different purposes, which are crucial to the chimney’s safe and effective functioning. The first function of a chimney sweep is to remove the creosote that has built up along the flue lining. Any time wood burns it produces creosote, a black and tarry material that condenses along the chimney interior as the smoke rises and cools. If allowed to build up for long enough, the creosote can block the air flow through the chimney, preventing the flue gases from venting properly. In addition, creosote is highly flammable. A single stray spark can start a chimney fire that burns at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, five times hotter than a wood burning fire. Resulting effects include melted mortar, cracked masonry, house fires, and even explosions. Luckily, devastation like this is completely preventable with a chimney sweep. Simply put, clean chimneys do not cause chimney fires.

The other function of a chimney sweep is to identify and clear out any obstructions in the chimney. While a variety of debris can end up in the chimney and block it, the most common culprit is an animal looking to stay warm during the winter. Birds, squirrels, and even raccoons find the warmth and protection of the chimney quite enticing, but them making a nest in the chimney only means trouble. An obstruction like an animal or its nest in the chimney prevents the proper flow of smoke out of the home. A back draft of these poisonous gases in the house will occur, exposing the inhabitants to carcinogens and carbon monoxide, which can cause asphyxiation in a matter of minutes. Regular chimney sweeps to check for obstructions like this make dangers like this a nonissue.

If it has been more than one year since your chimney was last swept, or if you suspect an issue with the function of your chimney, schedule an appointment with your local chimney expert. In Carbondale, Colorado, contact Bulldog Chimney Sweeps to speak with a professional. Make this New Year a safe year.

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