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3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Out Your Fireplace and Chimney

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Fireplaces are great for helping the whole house feel warm and cozy when colder weather breezes in, but it’s also important to make sure you’re following important safety requirements. For instance, when was the last time you had your chimney inspected? If it’s been more than a year, you’re long over due for a checkup by a certified professional. 

The biggest mistake people make is thinking they can clean out their chimneys themselves to save time and money. However, this is one area of your house that can’t rely on DIY methods or life hacks to get the job done. It’s not just a matter of your family’s safety, either, but also the prevention of fires spreading beyond your home. Take a look to see three more big mistakes people often make when it comes to keeping their fireplace and chimney safe.

1. Only relying on “chimney sweeping logs” to do the job.

Although creosote sweeping logs are approved by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the organization also points out that the products are not the same as having a professional inspection or sweep. Frances L. Kelly, CSIA executive director, explained, “We uphold the position that chemical cleaners should not replace any service provided by a qualified professional, including annual inspections and cleaning.”

2. Believing your wood “burns clean.”

Some wood does burn cleaner than others, but nothing burns without any residue whatsoever. The CSIA explains that seasoned wood that has been dried out for at least six months to a year will burn more efficiently, but it shouldn’t lead you to think you can skip the annual fireplace inspections from a professional.

3. Thinking you’ve already missed the time to clean it and have to wait another year.

The National Fire Protection Association states that all fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected at least once a year, but they don’t specify a certain time of the year. Most of us think about it when fall and winter roll around, obviously because we’re hoping to use them to keep our homes warm. Getting fireplaces and chimneys checked at that time is good, but it can be done at any time of the year — especially if you notice significant buildup. 

Now, before warming up with your home’s fireplace, make sure to call in a professional to give it a good inspection and cleaning if you haven’t already this year.

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