A House Chimney Roof

Why You Need to Have a Yearly Chimney Inspection

We get it. As a homeowner, you have a lot of maintenance to do.

It makes you wonder, “Are all these tasks essential?” Perhaps there are some that you can skip without suffering any dire consequences.

A yearly chimney inspection, however, is not optional. There are some huge dangers caused by not getting your chimney inspected often enough. Most of these dangers involve your house burning to the ground.

To help you understand this, we’ve written you this guide. In it, we explain in detail eight critical reasons you need to have your chimney inspected every year. Read on to learn more.

1. There Are Many Chimney Problems You Can’t See Without a Professional Inspection

Your chimney is a long, dark tunnel. Part of it is way up on the roof, where most homeowners can’t safely reach.

In other words, you can’t even see most areas of your chimney. So, self-inspection is not an option.

Besides, most homeowners wouldn’t know what to look for. And they don’t have the tools to do anything about chimney problems either. But a professional chimney sweep has all the necessary training and specialized tools to get the job done.

2. Creosote Buildup Can Cause a Fire

It’s a fact of using your fireplace that creosote builds up on the inner walls of your chimney. Creosote is a combination of byproducts from burning wood and other fuel. Namely, smoke, ash, oils, and unburned wood particles form an ever-thickening layer of this gunk.

Not only doesn’t this restrict the airflow of your chimney, but it can also start a fire. You see, the creosote is flammable.

So, if the creosote gets too thick and the fire gets too hot, then the whole chimney catches on fire. This will be a scorching fire that will soon spread to the rest of your house.

The ridiculous part is that, as often as this happens, it’s so easy to prevent. Simply get your chimney inspected every year to keep this from happening.

3. Animal Nests and Other Debris in Your Chimney Can Cause a Fire

Besides creosote, animals such as rats or birds can build nests in your chimney. Also, storms can blow twigs and leaves into your chimney too. This is especially true if your chimney’s crown is damaged.

This type of debris is also flammable. Thus, it can catch fire very close to your roof and get hot enough to start a house fire.

4. Chimney Obstructions Can Fill Your House With Toxic Vapors

Fires aren’t the only danger caused by an obstructed chimney. When your chimney gets blocked by debris or creosote, the smoke and other vapors from your fire can’t get through. And when we say other vapors, that includes deadly carbon monoxide.

There are, at least, some signs that can warn you that your chimney is obstructed. For instance, if you notice animal noises coming from your chimney, you should definitely have it inspected.

You can also check it with a flashlight. If you see a lot of debris and creosote buildup, call a chimney sweep right away.

5. Weather Deteriorates Your Chimney

Your chimney gets worn by the weather just like anything else does. For instance, moisture and temperature changes can cause tiny cracks in the masonry of your chimney.

Once these cracks are big enough to let moisture in, the problem quickly gets worse. The cracks will become wider, and your whole chimney can start crumbling away.

One indication of this that you may notice is that debris from your crumbling chimney or flashing can fall where you can see it. Check the inside of your fireplace and in the gutters near your chimney for traces of this debris. If you see any, get your chimney inspected right away.

Also, moisture and creosote buildup can hinder the function of your damper. If the damper is damaged or warped, it can lead to more creosote buildup and more vapors getting trapped in the house.

6. Flue Cracks Can Start a Fire

Another problem caused by excess chimney moisture (usually due to a damaged crown) is that it can deteriorate the flue. Sweltering temperatures can also cause this.

Your flue is what contains the heat and toxic fumes from your fire until they are safely transported out the top of your chimney. But when the above factors create tiny cracks in your flue, the heat escapes this containment.

This could heat the building materials surrounding your chimney to flammable temperatures. Again, this is a problem that will go unnoticed until you either get it inspected or catch your house on fire.

7. Your Insurance Policy May Require A Yearly Chimney Inspection 

Your homeowner’s insurance policy might require you to get yearly chimney inspections. If you don’t stick to the recommended chimney inspection schedule, you might void some aspects of your insurance coverage. And the only thing worse than your house burning down is not being insured when it happens.

8. You Aren’t Sure When the Chimney Was Last Inspected

Lastly, if you don’t know when the chimney was last inspected, get it inspected right now. This applies to those who’ve just purchased a home as well as those who’ve owned their home for a long time. These dangers of a poorly-maintained chimney are far too serious to ignore by assuming “it’s fine.”

Have You Been Getting Your Yearly Chimney Inspection?

If you’re late for your yearly chimney inspection, or you aren’t sure, get it done immediately. Contact Six Penny right now to request this service.

Smoking House Chimney

The Dangers Of a Dirty Chimney

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, also known as CSIA, chimneys, and fireplaces caused over 22,000 residential structure fires in 2014. Dirty chimneys can often cause these chimney fires which can be dangerous and even fatal to residents.

If you want to prevent problems with your chimney, it is vital to regularly get a chimney cleaning service. Here are the top dangers of a dirty chimney and why taking care of your chimney with regular chimney maintenance is important.

1. Carbon Monoxide

One of the biggest dangers of having a dirty chimney is that it can expose you to carbon monoxide. This can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no odor, color, or taste.

This means that it is nearly impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide is most commonly caused by burning material that includes carbon. These types of materials include natural gas, oil, coal, and wood.

If your chimney is dirty, this means that it will not have proper ventilation and you may be breathing in this gas.

If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, there are other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to watch out for. These include weakness, a dull headache, nausea, confusion, and more.

2. Creosote Exposure

Creosote is a byproduct of combustion in your fireplace. It is a black, tar-like substance that can cause many issues.

When this substance builds up and you are exposed to creosote, you can get many symptoms of creosote exposure. These side effects include irritation to your skin, rashes, and other topical issues. However, there are other more dangerous things that can happen when you are exposed to creosote. These include more serious side effects like vision loss, seizures, and even cancer in rare cases.

Creosote exposure can lead to many long-lasting illnesses and dangerous side effects. To prevent any of these health issues, you need to regularly clean and maintain your chimney.

When you hire a professional chimney sweep, they will check for creosote buildup and will remove any dangerous buildup in your fireplace.

3. Chimney Fire

As previously mentioned, having buildup and debris in your chimney can lead to a chimney fire in your home. This is one of the most dangerous risks of a dirty chimney.

Again, when you use your fireplace, there are byproducts of the combustion that occurs. This includes creosote. When creosote builds up and is exposed to high temperatures, it can ignite and cause a fire.

To prevent chimney fires, it is important to regularly maintain and clean your chimney to remove this buildup of creosote.

There are many signs of a chimney fire that don’t always include a huge fire and dangerous flames. For example, some of these include smoke and heat damage to your roof, warped metal, and even cracked or damaged chimney flue tiles.

If you recognize any of these signs, it is vital that you hire a professional to come and take a look at your chimney!

4. Health Risks

Another issue that arises from having a dirty chimney is health risks for the residents of your home.

As was mentioned before, using your fire creates a buildup of particles and contaminants. When you use a dirty fire, these particles are sent into the air. This means that your family members and people in your home can be breathing in harmful contaminants.

This can lead to health risks including asthma, eye irritation, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more.

Chimney Cleaning and Maintenance

When you have a fireplace in your home, you will want to clean your chimney at least once every year. You may need to clean your chimney more often depending on how much buildup your fire causes.

If you don’t have too much buildup in your chimney, you may be able to clean the soot yourself. However, creosote buildup may require a professional chimney cleaning service to help.

To clean and maintain your chimney, a chimney sweep will help break off the debris that has built up on the inside walls of your chimney.

Cleaning a chimney also comes with risks. If you are considering cleaning your chimney on your own, you should understand the dangers associated. First, you will need to climb a ladder and be on top of a steep roof. This is especially dangerous when you have a tall chimney.

You will also need to get the correct tools to properly clean your chimney. These include wire brushes, a vacuum, and other safety precautions, like a mask and safety goggles.

However, hiring a professional chimney cleaner can make this process much less stressful and difficult! A professional company will already have all the tools necessary to clean your chimney and can get it done more quickly and safely.

A professional company can also help make repairs to your chimney if it isn’t working properly, if it is too old to function, or if you are experiencing any other issues!

Get A Professional Chimney Cleaning Service to Help!

Chimney cleaning and maintenance is an easy way to prevent all of the dangers of a dirty chimney. If you want the help of a professional chimney cleaning service, Six Penny Chimney can help! We offer chimney cleaning and repair services in Woodbridge, Virginia.

If you would like the help of our team members, contact us today to learn more about our chimney services, the dangers of a dirty chimney, and to get a free quote!


8 Beautiful Reasons to Keep Your Chimney Clean

You use your chimney on a regular basis and, yet, you haven’t cleaned it in eons. Let us be the ones to tell you: this is a mistake. 

A clean chimney is a functional chimney. If it’s not kept clean, it can cause you a world of trouble.

Wondering why exactly it’s so important to keep your chimney clean? Then read on. Here are 8 reasons. 

1. Clean Chimneys Are Efficient Chimneys

When a chimney gets dirty, the heating systems that are connected to it have a difficult time letting off the exhaust. As a result, they run less efficiently than they normally would. This results in a waste of energy and also reduces the system’s lifespan. 

What this means, of course, is that, if you want your heating systems to run as efficiently as possible, you have to keep your chimney clean. Chimneys should be cleaned at least once yearly and maybe even more if you heat your home frequently. 

2. Failing to Clean Your Chimney is Dangerous

Another reason that you should clean your chimney on a regular basis is that a dirty chimney has the potential to become dangerous. The more residue that exists within the chimney, the less area there is through which ash and exhaust can travel. This can lead to backup, causing smoke to billow into the home. 

In some cases, it can even cause fires to start within the chimney. If this occurs, the fire can spread, leaving the home vulnerable. 

You don’t want either one of these things to happen. Smoke inhalation is bad for your lungs (and potentially deadly) while fire could very well burn your home to the ground. Have your chimney cleaned and avoid this problem entirely. 

3. It Saves You Money in the Long Run 

Dirty chimneys can lead to a number of problems. Not only can they cause house fires and smoke backups, but they can also place unnecessary strain on the heating systems to which they are connected. This can lead to all sorts of damage. 

As you might know, fixing damage such as this isn’t cheap. In fact, it can set you back thousands of dollars. 

Therefore, if you want to save money in the long run, you will have your chimney cleaned on a consistent basis. Yes, you’ll have to dish out a few bucks for chimney cleaning services but it’s nowhere near as costly as having to fix fire or smoke damage, not to mention damage to your heating units. 

4. It Keeps Animal Debris at Bay

One of the issues you might encounter with your chimney is the problem of animals creating a home inside of it. This generally occurs during the warm months, as it’s virtually impossible for animals to live inside of a chimney while its corresponding heating system is running. 

So, why is it a problem, you might ask? Because animals create nests inside of chimneys. And in order to establish their nests, they bring along a great deal of miscellaneous debris. 

Come the heating season, this debris can pose a fire hazard. As such, before turning on your heater for the season, you’re highly advised to have your chimney cleaned out. 

5. It Staves Off Poor Odors

The residue that builds up within chimneys is not only physically obstructive but also smells bad. This smell becomes most prominent during the summer months when the heats are at their highest. It can overpower the area around the chimney opening. 

Want to do away with this smell? It’s as simple as cleaning your chimney. A chimney cleaning company will remove all of the soot from your chimney, preventing its aroma from floating through your home. 

6. It Improves Air Quality

As you might expect, the creosote buildup within a chimney is bad for air quality. The more creosote that exists in your chimney, the more there will be in your home’s air.

You’re breathing this air in on a regular basis, of course. So, if there’s creosote in it, you’ll also be breathing it in as well. This is an issue, as creosote is thought to contain dangerous carcinogens. 

Want to make your home as breathable as possible? You’ll need to have your chimney cleaned on a consistent basis. 1 to 2 times a year is standard. 

7. It’s Inexpensive

Now, you might be skeptical to have your chimney cleaned. You might be afraid of the price, in particular. If so, you should know that it’s really not expensive at all.

Most chimney cleanings cost between $150 and $300. Pay that once a year and your chimney should thrive on all levels.

The alternative is to never have your chimney cleaned and then pay thousands of dollars in repairs after the fact. Believe us: you don’t want to do that. Not only will it impact your bank account but it could also put you out of your home for a few weeks. 

8. It’s Fast

You might also be under the impression that chimney cleaning is an intensive, time-consuming task. As such, you might be hoping to avoid it at all costs. 

However, in truth, chimney cleaning takes between 45 minutes to an hour. You don’t even have to be home to have your chimney cleaned. The cleaners can come to your home in the middle of the day, clean out your chimney, and leave before you even knew they were there. 

Need Help Getting Your Chimney Clean? 

What do you say? Ready to clean your chimney? Need help getting your chimney clean?

If so and if you’re in the Woodbridge, VA area, we here at Sixpenny Chimney & Air Duct Cleaning are the people to see. Our team is well-versed in the cleaning of chimneys and will have yours looking brand new. 

Contact us now to get the process started!