If you just purchased a home among the Bellevue houses for sale or anywhere else and it has a fireplace, you’re probably looking forward to copying up to it during the chillier months of the year, but there are a few things you should know first.

Obviously, there’s nothing more important than keeping your family and home safe, and when it comes to fireplaces, it’s critical to know how to use it properly and maintain it properly too. The chimney is a critical ventilation system allowing smoke, toxins, and dangerous fumes to escape, and if it’s not clean, it can’t do its job. A certain amount of residue from soot and creosote sticks to masonry inside of the chimney every time a fire burns. When creosote becomes too thick, the burning embers and heat from the fire can be all that it takes to spark a fire in the chimney. Regular chimney cleaning would have prevented many of the over 70,000 house fires that occur annually, with the leading factor contributing to home heating fires failure to clean, primarily chimneys, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

A professional chimney cleaning and inspection will also help reduce wear and tear on components so that costly chimney repairs can be prevented. Additionally, it will help uncover minor masonry problems before they become major issues and result in more expensive chimney repairs.

When to Get a Chimney Inspection

Experts recommend that homeowners schedule a chimney inspection once a year to be sure that all systems are in working order and operating as they should. At the same time, you can opt to have that chimney cleaning done annually, too, especially when the fireplace is used frequently. Even if you only use your fireplace minimally, it’s still advised that your chimney be inspected once a year. During the inspection, any issues or defects found can be corrected even if a cleaning isn’t needed. It usually takes less than an hour to complete.

If you recently purchased your home, if you haven’t had your chimney inspected in over a year, or if you’re having performance issues with it or your fireplace, you should schedule an inspection to avoid the cost of additional repairs and the potential of property loss. Something else to consider even if you don’t use your fireplace regularly or it hasn’t been used for a very long time, critters sometimes build nests inside that can clog the flue or chimney chamber. Moisture and the winter freeze cycles often take a toll on masonry and the liner materials too, and after a few years, things begin to deteriorate, requiring a professional. The longer defects go unchecked, the more expensive repairs will be.

The Best Time of Year for a Chimney Inspection and Cleaning

While you may need to have your chimney cleaned and inspected soon after moving into a new home, once you’ve settled in and been there a while, it’s best to schedule before the start of the burning season. The spring, summer, or early fall are all ideal. Before thinking about building that fire when the first chill hits the air, if you haven’t had it cleaned and inspected, be sure to do so first to keep your family and home safe.

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