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An Important Reminder to Have Your Chimney Cleaned Regularly

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With the winter weather upon us, you're probably eager to light up your fireplace. It's an effective, low-cost way to warm your home. Before using your fireplace, though, you should consider having your chimney inspected and cleaned. It only takes a few minutes to call a professional chimney sweep, but doing so offers several benefits.

Lower Risk of House Fire

Cleaning your chimney regularly will lower the risk of a house fire. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 25,000 chimney fires occur each year in the United States, causing more than $126 million in property damage. Chimney fires are typically the result of a dirty, clogged chimney. When neglected, this soot will accumulate inside your chimney's walls, forming a highly flammable substance known as creosote.

Improved Air Quality

You'll create cleaner air inside your home by cleaning your chimney on a regular basis. Indoor air pollution is a serious health concern. In fact, the Environmental Health Agency (EPA) recently stated indoor air pollution as being one of the top five hazards to the public's health. How does a dirty chimney cause poor air quality exactly? When you don't clean your chimney, soot and creosote will accumulate inside of it. Not only does this increase the risk of a house fire, but it also prevents fumes and particulate matter from fully escaping out the chimney. As the fumes and particulate matter enter your home, they contribute to indoor air pollution.

Better Heat

Having your chimney cleaned on a regular basis can even provide you with better heat output from your fireplace. Creating a good, hot fire requires oxygen. Without oxygen, wood or other materials wouldn't be able to effectively combust. A clean chimney means that fresh oxygen can easily reach your fireplace, resulting in a hotter fire. If your chimney is clogged or dirty, however, it will restrict the amount of oxygen your fire receives.

Maintain Home Value

Cleaning your chimney on a regular basis can preserve the value of your home. When you get ready to sell your home, prospective buyers will probably check the chimney to see if it's clean. If it's not clean, they may search elsewhere for a home to purchase.

Now that you know the importance of maintaining a clean chimney, you might be wondering how often you need to have it cleaned. It really depends on how often you use your fireplace. If you use it as your primary method of indoor heating, you may need to clean it twice a year. But if you only use it a few times a month, cleaning it once a year should suffice.

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