People often ask us when is the best time of year to have the chimney cleaned. Many of them assume that the best thing is to wait until just before the fall season when they will begin using it. Intuitive as this response is, it is actually quite the opposite of the truth.
Spring is the best time of year to have your chimney serviced. Once September comes, nearly every reputable chimney company has a waiting list that is weeks or even months long! But even if this weren’t so, spring would still be the best time of year to get your chimney inspected and cleaned.
The first thing to understand is that chimneys only get dirty when they are used. Creosote is a flammable substance that builds up in fireplaces and needs regular cleaning to prevent the risk of having a chimney fire. Because you don’t use the fireplace all summer, there’s no possibility of creosote building up before the fall. If a chimney is not used, it will be exactly as clean six months later as the day you cleaned it.
Winter weather tends to do far more damage to chimneys than during the rest of the year. After a particularly harsh winter (like the one we just had) we tend to find lots of damaged chimneys. This is because nothing damages chimneys faster than water near freezing temperatures. When snow sits on a chimney over the whole winter, it tends to slowly melt, dripping down into the chimney. If water seeps into the masonry, when the temperature drops, the water inside the bricks will freeze, expanding into ice crystals that can crack and shatter masonry. This freezing and thawing cycle can do massive damage to a chimney over even a single winter.
After a full inspection, we often find that chimneys need moderate or extensive repairs in the spring. This work can be costly, and by having the chimney inspected in the spring, you gain the flexibility of being able plan the work in a way that is convenient for you. Most importantly of all, spring and summer weather is the most conducive to any sort of major chimney repair.
We repair chimneys all year round, but most masonry work requires a certain period of above freezing temperature in order to properly cure. By planning ahead and getting your chimney checked in the spring, you can make sure that your chimney gets repaired in time for the busy burning season, and do it on your schedule!