Calgary Heating: Chimney Safety! Hello everyone, Kyle here and I want to take a quick walk down memory lane. In the autumn, the smell of wood smoke drifting around corners can always take me back to crunching leaves hot food, and the first tang of snow in the air. Nowadays, you may not get that sensation as much, but it’s still one that you can count on every autumn.
Chimney safety is very important for anyone contributing to this autumn tradition. Chimneys have an important job; they take the toxic smoke, wood smoke and carbon dioxide out of the home while the fire is burning. And proper chimney safety allows the chimney to do its job properly so that you can enjoy your fireplace without suffocating. The major cause of chimney problems is clogs in the chimney. These clogs can come as a result of creosote build-up from burning unseasoned wood or from not burning the wood hot enough.
Creosote is the deposit left from wood smoke being pulled up the chimney by the draft. It’s the black stuff that chimney sweeps were once covered in! Creosote can be both gaseous and solid, though it’s the solid soot which you will see. If you leave it to build up for too long, you can end up with a chimney fire, a backed up fireplace and toxic gas flowing into your home.
Creosote can be cleaned out of your chimney as long as you do regular maintenance and you can do monthly cleanings yourself and then hire professionals to do a thorough cleaning and inspection a couple of times a year. You can hire professionals to clean out your chimney, usually in the spring after a winter of use or autumn before it will be used again. (If you really want to be safe, do both!) As for DIY chimney cleanings, it’s a good idea to tackle them about once a month while the chimney is in use. Look for creosote or soot that is approaching 1/8” in thickness and vacuum it out using the largest possible brush that will fit in the chimney. Alternatively, you can use a large brush from the ceiling and give the chimney a vigorous sweeping. Make sure you wear protective gear like goggles and a breathing mask while you do it, as well as a good body apron or very old clothes that you won’t mind throwing away after the job is done. Once the chimney is clean, vacuum the area around the stove or fireplace and you’re done.
Fireplaces and chimneys are a bit high maintenance which is why many people don’t bother with them anymore. However, as long as you keep on top of routine cleanings and bring in professional cleaners a couple times a year, your chimney will remain clean and safe, helping to keep your home warm for many years to come.
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