People often ask us when is the best time of year to have the chimney cleaned. Many of them assume that the best time is to wait until just before the fall season when they will begin using it. Intuitive as this response may seem, it is actually quite the opposite of the truth. Spring is the best time to get your chimney swept.
Here’s the comparison between the two seasons and why you should schedule your chimney cleaning in the spring or summer:
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 (but a yearly chimney inspection is highly recommended for protection of your home). 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.
You can of course get your chimney cleaned in the fall or winter, although you may have to wait a month or so before the best chimney sweeps are available to clean your chimney. Fall and winter are very busy times of the year for chimney sweeps. That’s why it is better to always get your chimney cleaned in the spring or summer because you can pick a time that is convenient for you and you may even get a discount on your chimney cleaning.
Another reason to get your chimney cleaned in the spring is because you’ll want to get a chimney inspection completed at the time of the cleaning to make sure your chimney is in working order. Spring is also the best time for chimney inspections since it can be difficult to complete a full chimney inspection in the winter depending on the weather. Winter weather tends to do far more damage to chimneys than during the rest of the year so you might as well wait until the inclement weather is over before scheduling your chimney inspection. 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 to 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!
“How often should I have my chimney cleaned?” We hear this question a lot from customers. It really depends on how often you use your chimney and what kind of fireplace you have. Every year you should get your chimney inspected for any signs of weather damage. Then the chimney sweep can also see if your chimney needs to be cleaned or not. If you use your chimney a lot, then you probably need a cleaning each year. If you use your chimney occasionally, but not every night during the winter then you could probably have it cleaned every 2 years.
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