Fireplaces can be a much sought-after addition to any house, and they are both aesthetically pleasing and relaxing. However, if you use your fireplace regularly, or you are using it after a long period of disuse, it’s important that you have your fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional.

Similarly, if you are planning any updates to your fireplace, you should steer away from DIY chimney tips and instead opt for a professional. Not only will this ensure the job is done right, but it can be much much safer.

To help you better understand the importance of professional chimney sweep services, here are ten key reasons that you need to know.

1. Removing Hazardous Obstructions and Pests

One reason you should always hire a professional chimney cleaner instead of doing the job yourself is that they can more efficiently remove obstructions and pests. An obstructed chimney is a major danger, and without the proper knowledge, you may put yourself and your home in danger when trying to clear it yourself.

One method that some homeowners use is trying to burn away obstructions or smoke out animals by building a large fire. However, this method is more likely to start a housefire or expose you to dangerous carbon monoxide than actually clearing your flue.

Whether your chimney is blocked by debris, an animal, or creosote buildup, never try to clear it on your own. Trust the job to an experienced chimney sweep so that you don’t put your health and your home at risk.

2. Preventing Fires

As mentioned above, when homeowners try to DIY chimney clearing, it can often result in damaging fires. This is especially true if you creosote buildup in your chimney. Creosote is a dark, tar-like substance that builds up when you burn wood. Softwoods or wood that is unseasoned produce the most creosote, and monitoring the buildup is essential to prevent a fire.

In fact, creosote buildup is the leading cause of chimney fires, and even something as simple as a stray spark or high temperature can ignite it. Depending on how much creosote has built up before ignition, the fires stemming from it can burn for long periods of time and they can be extremely hot. Even if it doesn’t cause damage to other parts of your home, the structural damage in the area of the chimney can still be extensive and costly to fix.

While there are things that you can buy in stores to help mitigate creosote buildup, these should never be used in place of professional cleaning. Once built up, creosote can be difficult to remove without professional equipment and chemicals. Hiring a professional chimney cleaner is always the best option when it comes to removing dangerous creosote.

3. Hidden Issues

When trying to clean or update your fireplace and chimney on your own, you can also risk missing some hazards that professionals would be able to point out. There are numerous components that comprise your chimney, and they must all work together to keep your home safe from carbon monoxide, fire, and water damage.

For instance, a professional cleaner will be able to identify problems with the bricks and motor of the chimney, the damper system, and the flue. Many issues in these areas can go unnoticed unless you know what to look out for. Because of this, DIY projects leave you susceptible to either overlooking problems or causing damage if what you’re working on has structural problems.

Over time, chimneys can wear down due to weather, temperatures, and corrosive material exposure. Many of these problems can be fixed if caught early enough. However, because many people forgo regular chimney cleanings, these issues usually fester until they become critical and expensive to fix.

Some of the most common problems include damaged flue liners, warped dampers, and cracked chimney crowns, all things that a professional can point out with ease. With regular inspections and cleanings, these problems can be caught early and save you a lot of time and money. Your fireplace will also be much safer to use.

4. Improving Efficiency

With regular cleanings and inspections, you can also ensure that your fireplace is much more efficient both for heating and for the environment. When a fire can burn more efficiently, it can produce more heat, reducing the need for using your furnace in the winter. Similarly, efficient fires produce less smoke and fewer harmful emissions, making them better for the environment.

By having your chimney and fireplace regularly cleaned by a professional, you can help ensure that your fires are able to burn more efficiently and that you won’t run into any problems while using your fireplace. If you rely on your fireplace during the colder months, regular cleaning is something that you should never overlook.

5. Increase the Lifespan of Your Flue Liner

Flue liners are one of the most important parts of your chimney, and they help protect your home from both fire and carbon monoxide. It does this by helping to insulate the chimney from the high temperatures produced by fires, as well as the corrosive materials released by the smoke. Additionally, this insulation helps prevent carbon monoxide from leaking into your home through cracks in the brickwork.

Having your chimney professionally cleaned, at least once every year, can help maintain your flue lining by removing buildup. Creosote and soot can contribute to deterioration as they allow moisture to become trapped inside. This moisture can gradually wear down the lining over time, resulting in you needing to replace it. However, because regular cleanings remove this buildup, you can help your liner last as long as possible.

Similarly, a professional chimney sweep will be able to tell you if there are any problems with your current lining, as well as give you advice on when you should replace it.

6. Professional Experience

While it’s nice to think that you can DIY any problem that comes up in your home, sometimes professional experience is something that you can’t learn through an online tutorial. Although it might look easy on a YouTube video, cleaning and maintaining your chimney and fireplace can be hard and dangerous work.

Not only are no two chimneys the exact same, but the knowledge of how to properly and safely clean and maintain them is something that only years of experience can provide. When you hire a professional chimney cleaner, you’re not just hiring someone willing to do a dirty job, but someone with years of hands-on experience and knowledge.

Although you may be able to DIY some problems around your home, your fireplace is something that should be left to the professionals, especially since your safety depends on it being done correctly.

7. Professional Advice

Another thing that goes along with professional training and experience is the ability to provide homeowners with professional advice. For instance, a professional chimney sweep will be able to advise you on how you can best maintain your fireplace and chimney throughout the year. If they notice you have a lot of creosote buildup, they may advise using a different type of wood to help mitigate it.

They can also point out any problems that you have, as mentioned above. While these problems may not need immediate fixing, by knowing about them early, you can plan ahead to have them fixed before they become severe.

Advice like this can be invaluable to homeowners with fireplaces, and it can help you stay informed about how to best use and care for your fireplace and chimney.

8. Saving Money

The main reason people undertake DIY jobs is to save money. However, if you don’t have the right tools for the job, coupled with the right know-how, you can end up making a relatively small problem a much larger and more expensive one. While you may want to try and save a few bucks by forgoing professional cleaning, you could be putting yourself at risk, both in terms of safety and future problems, without them.

For instance, if you try cleaning your chimney yourself, you could end up causing damage unknowingly that could end up resulting in a leak that could go undetected for months. This mistake could end up costing thousands in water damage, and the water can even contribute to rot that could lead to structural problems. What was once a simple cleaning job, suddenly turned into a major problem that could require thousands of dollars in repairs.

Don’t put yourself at risk of ending up in a situation like this. Always trust a professional so that you can rest assured that the job is done right and that any issues are detected as soon as possible.

9. Professional Tools

As mentioned above, DIY is about saving money, but having to invest in expensive professional tools defeats that purpose. Professional chimney sweeps already have access to the best tools for the job, and they know exactly how to use them. Some of these tools are high-powered and specialized to remove creosote build-up, and can be coupled with chemicals that can be hazardous if not used properly.

Additionally, professionals will have access to things like high-tech cameras to identify blockages and see hard-to-reach places in your chimney. State-of-the-art tools like these can help them see every inch of your chimney and find even the smallest problems before they become significant.

Although you could buy these tools yourself, the cost would be much steeper, and without knowing how to use them effectively, it would ultimately be a waste. When it comes to tools like these, leave it to the professionals who are trained to use them.

10. Insurance Coverage

In the event of a chimney or house fire, many homeowner insurance companies require you to be able to submit proof of regular maintenance in order to be able to file a claim. If you are unable to submit proof, you could either be held liable or you could receive less than you need to fix your home. This is a situation that no homeowner ever wants to find themselves in, but it can be avoided by having a professional team come to maintain your fireplace yearly.

Not only can they help lower the risk of a chimney fire, but if one does occur, they can provide proof that you did all you could to prevent it.

Similarly, a professional chimney sweep service will provide their own private insurance to cover themselves while on the job. This means that if they are injured they will be covered. If you try to handle the job yourself and suffer an injury, you may be facing significant medical bills along with the cost of repairing your chimney.

In either of these cases, professional services are necessary for ensuring that both you and your home are as safe as possible.

Getting the Most Out of Your Fireplace

Fireplaces are one of the most sought-after features in a home, and they can have many benefits for homeowners. However, fireplaces and chimneys need maintenance and you simply can’t keep lighting fires year-round without the proper cleaning. If you consistently use your fireplace without maintenance, you can end up putting your whole home at risk if your chimney experiences a flammable obstruction or build-up of creosote.

When it comes to maintaining your fireplace, always trust the professionals and never forgo your regular maintenance.