When many homeowners or potential homeowners are our looking at homes one of the items on the wish list is a fireplace. They can provide warmth to the home. They can provide an architectural feature to the room. They are also a source of danger.
The burning of solid fuel (wood) can produce smoke and creosote. This creosote or resin from the wood is extremely flammable. It does not take much build-up to cause a fire. This is one of the reasons why we bring in professional chimney sweeps to keep our chimneys clean.
In a recent conversation with a professional sweep we talked about how often a chimney should be cleaned. They talked about three factors to take into consideration.
The first is, what woods are you burning. The soft woods will create more creosote than harder woods. The hard woods will be oak, walnut, maple and cherry.
The second would be how often to burn fires and how much do you burn. The sweep talked about cleaning a chimney everytime a face cord of wood is burned. A face cord is typically the measurement of one truckload of wood or about 8 feet long by 4 feet high by one stick of wood.
The third is what the interior of the chimney looks like. If you looked up your chimney you will see that the smoke has turned the inside of the chimney black. After a few fires this black will begin to build up and create a tar. This tar is glossy. Shining a light and seeing the reflection on the tar is a sure sign of the creosote build up.
Chimney fires are a real thing. They are devastating to everyone involved. Here is a link to a recent video produced by Rachael Ray. Her home recently was lost to a chimney fire.
If you have any questions about chimney you should contact you local The BrickKicker or a professional chimney sweep. A great source for a qualified sweep is located at: http://www.ncsg.org/.