Chimney “sweep” is how people commonly refer to the kind of chimney cleaning services we offer here at Kirk's Duct Cleaning. But there’s a lot more than “sweeping” that goes into a proper chimney cleaning. We’ve been doing business since 2002, understand all the different facets of chimney cleaning, and can guarantee the most experienced, professional, and friendly service.
Creosote — The Biggest Threat
All wood-burning chimneys build up a dangerous substance called creosote, which is a dark-colored matter that can be solid, liquid, or gas, and presents the greatest threat to chimney safety. It’s made up of the unburned carbon from your fuel source. It leaves the hearth in vapor form, but becomes solid once again when it encounters the cooler air in your chimney, allowing it to stick to the walls of your flume or liner. Creosote will build up inside your chimney lining like layers of tar, and because it’s a highly flammable material, creosote represents the biggest chimney safety hazard—if the creosote ignites, it will cause a chimney fire that can damage or even destroy your home.
Creosote builds up in three stages, the first of which is the innocuous black powder commonly called “soot.” Some soot inside your chimney is unavoidable and not dangerous, and it’s easily removed with a gentle brushing. In the second stage, this soot comes together in clumps that form shiny, solid flakes that contain tar oil, allowing them to cling tightly to the walls of your chimney. Not only are these hardened shards of creosote more likely to catch fire, they’re also harder to remove. The third and final stage is when these hardened flakes of creosote completely coat your liner, and the layers of glazed tar only becomes thicker with every fire you light. This is the most likely form of creosote to ignite, and almost impossible to remove.
If you don’t clean you chimney regularly, you risk moving beyond stage one and into the danger zone. Chimney fires can be explosive—a creosote fire can burn at temperatures exceeding 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. The intense heat can cause the flue to crack or collapse, and your surrounding interior walls to burst into flame, or embers can shoot out the chimney and ignite a fire on your roof. At the least, a creosote fire can seriously damage your chimney, but at the most, they can start a fire that can destroy your home and endanger your family. Don’t risk it! Call Kirk's Duct Cleaning for cleaning and inspection.
Chimney Cap Installation
While you may not be intimately familiar with the anatomy of your home’s fireplace or chimney features, a chimney cap plays an important role in your home’s chimney system. If your home doesn't already have one, here are five reasons why you should consider installing a chimney cap.
1) Reduce moisture
A chimney cap will keep rain water from coming down your home’s chimney. Rain water can damage chimneys with stainless steel liners, chimney dampers and chimney mortar joints. Beyond the damage from the water itself, moisture from rain water can produce mold and mildew.
2) Keep out animals
Animals like birds, raccoons and squirrels often try to make their homes within chimneys. In many cases, these critters will enter the chimney but won’t be able to exit, eventually dying. This can produce maggots, flies and unpleasant odors in your home. A professionally installed chimney cap, sized properly, will prevent animals from entering the chimney.
3) Block downdrafts
If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, it can introduce a downdraft. If you don’t have a chimney cap and you’re using a wood-burning fireplace at the time, a wind-induced downdraft has the potential of blowing smoke back into your home. The flat-shaped top of a chimney cap is designed to help prevent wind-induced downdrafts.
4. Stop sparks and embers
Some people refer to chimney caps as spark arrestors, which basically means that the chimney cap helps prevent lit embers or sparks that travel up the chimney from landing on roof, possibly catching it on fire.
5. Prevent debris build-up
Leaves, branches, twigs and other debris can enter a chimney and build up if a chimney cap is not in place.
Call Kirk's Duct Cleaning today at (240) 428-0808, or fill out our contact form and a representative will contact you, to have peace of mind in knowing your home and family are safe and your chimney is functioning at its maximum capacity.
Why is it Necessary to Clean Your Chimney?
Regular chimney cleaning is crucial for anyone who uses his or her stove at all, even on an infrequent basis. Cleaning your chimney will prevent a host of problems, including:
Nesting animals or insects
Carbon Monoxide poisoning
Decreased property value