Clean the Chimney: Prevent a Winter House Fire 

Why Cleaning Your Chimney Can Prevent a House Fire

More than 25,000 chimney fires occur annually in the United States, leaving behind more than $125 million in damage.  Before you enjoy the first fire of the winter season, get your chimney flue inspected.  If you’re wondering why cleaning your chimney can prevent a house fire it comes down to keeping your chimney in working order to help prevent a winter house fire.  A clean chimney will help ensure you are safe and comfortable as you bask in the glow of a warm blaze. 

The recommended average time between chimney cleans is about one year.  Regular professional cleanings are necessary to remove built-up soot, blockages or creosote from your chimney liner. Burning wood allows excess creosote to accumulate in your chimney which is highly flammable.  

How to Maintain Your Fireplace

It’s best to call in a professional to do the deep chimney cleaning, but you can take measures to maintain it yourself between inspections. Buy some fireplace tools such as rods, shovels and brushes and clean up the fireplace between uses. Allow ashes and coals to cool off for up to a week before disposing of them. For further cleaning, sweep or vacuum the fireplace out regularly.  

What Happens When Wood Burns

If you prefer burning wet wood, be sure to have your chimney cleaned or inspected after every 50 uses.  Green wood doesn’t burn cleanly and sends a lot of unburned particles up the chimney, causing creosote and soot to build-up. Dry hardwoods, such as oak and birch, burn hotter and cleaner, allowing for around 70 burns before the chimney needs cleaning. 

Signs the Fireplace Needs Cleaning

There is a simple DIY test you can perform to determine if a chimney cleaning is due. While wearing goggles and a disposable dust mask, take a flashlight and use a fireplace poker to scratch the black surface above the damper.  If the build-up is as thick as a nickel, about ⅛-inch deep, call a professional.  If you have ¼-inch of creosote, do not use the fireplace at all until a cleaning is done.  

What Chimney Sweeps Do

A certified professional will check for soot buildup, obstructions, cracks in the chimney liner and signs of water damage. A good cleaning will help keep animals and birds from nesting in chimneys and creating blockages or fire hazards.  

Reasons to Rely on the Pros

It’s tempting to save money on annual cleanings by doing them yourself, but to get it done properly, it’s best to hire a professional chimney sweep.  A certified pro will take steps to protect your home and completely clean up the mess.  Soot and creosote are carcinogens and should be handled using the proper tools and personal protective equipment. Pros are also trained on how to quickly spot problems during an inspection.  

When to Schedule a Visit

The best time to schedule a routine chimney cleaning or inspection is during the spring and summer months.  Winter is often a very busy time for chimney sweeps and you will likely have to wait for service.  Also, if repairs are necessary, you will have to forego a fire until safety issues are taken care of.  

Let Us Help Keep Your Home Safe

The professionals at CKElectric can handle all of your electrical projects, big or small. Need a service call?  Our electricians can help you figure out why your outlets have stopped working or your panel keeps tripping.  We serve Sykesville, Eldersburg, Frederick, and all of Central Maryland.  Call us at 443-920-3078 or email us at  We are happy to serve you!