During the 70s and 80s of the last century, when the cost of heating homes increased significantly, many homeowners switched to wood, a cheaper option. As a result, the market for wood burning stoves boomed. Though homeowners liked the reduction in their requirement of costly electricity and natural gas, they were faced with the problems associated with stoves working on wood. Build-ups of by-products of wood like soot and creosote created fire hazards that necessitated the services of professional chimney sweepers. This led to the formation of an additional industry consisting of chimney cleaning firms and fireplace safety inspectors.
You can get two options for cleaning the chimney of your fireplace. One is to do it on your own, and the other is to seek the services of professional chimney cleaners. Cleaning the visible sections of the chimney and the collection plus the disposal of ashes is a very time-consuming and messy job. However, homeowners having the right tools for cleaning and willing to put in some labor can do the job as well as any professional chimney cleaner. You don’t really need the services of professional cleaners if you just want surface cleaning to improve the aesthetic looks of your chimney.
In case you were burning wood, especially pine wood, for many months, you would need the services of professional chimney sweepers to get rid of the accumulated natural material called creosote, which is released when burning firewood. Creosote naturally sticks to the interior walls of fire chimney and can’t be eliminated with help of just wire brushes. A chimney fire may be caused when soot and creosote get too hot. Professional cleaners use chemicals and special brushes for eliminating tough creosote that gets deposited on the walls as a result of prolonged burning of oil rich woods.
Before hiring the services of a professional company for cleaning chimney, it’s imperative to inquire the credentials of the company’s experience and of its cleaners. Professional companies are listed with national trade associations, having strict guidelines regards servicing and training. Individuals providing such services could also get certification from recognized centers providing fire safety training. It’s unfortunate that an increase in the demand of chimney sweeping services has encouraged many unreliable operators. It is desirable to seek references of service providers from neighbors or family and friends.
It has been found that many times during the process of cleaning the chimney, the cleaners would point out damages in the chimney and would undertake to carry the necessary repairs for extra charge. Though a good chimney sweeper should have the latest equipment for the cleaning and inspection of a chimney, they should not exploit the opportunity of cleaning to make some extra bucks. It is best to hire special contractors for carrying the needed repairs.