You should have your home’s chimney cleaned every year for safest and cleanest operation. It’s wise to have your chimney professionally cleaned before using the unit for a new season.

Being new to fireplace ownership when you buy a home that has a classic burner can be puzzling: your real estate agent claims you can use your fireplace right away because the unit passed inspection and the previous homeowners had the chimney cleaned regularly, but you want to make sure the unit is safe for operation.

Here are reasons you should have the chimney inspected and cleaned anyway before you use your new fireplace.

The Home Was Vacant for Long Periods

Birds, squirrels and other animals work their way into unused chimneys and build nests. These nests can create blockages in a chimney that allow toxins like carbon monoxide to enter the home when a fire is lit. Nests can also cause a fire hazard when flames shoot up the chimney.

Even if the previous homeowner had the chimney inspected before selling it, animals could have made themselves at home during the home’s vacancy. Have your chimney expert inspect the area to clean out debris including animal nests, creosote buildup and other items so your fireplace is deemed safe for you to use.

The Fireplace Was Frequently Used

If the previous homeowners used their fireplace every season to keep their house warm, there is a strong likelihood that creosote has built up inside the chimney. Creosote, a fine, black soot, forms when fires are lit. This debris is highly flammable and can cause potential dangers if you don’t have your chimney inspected and cleaned before your first use.

Another reason to have your fireplace professionally inspected when previous homeowners used it often is you have no idea what type of material the old owners burned. While wood is the most common type of material used in a fireplace, cardboard, paper and even garbage may have been burned in the past. Unknown debris should be cleaned out professionally leaving your fireplace clean and safe for your future use.

The Fireplace Was Rarely Used

You may think that a fireplace that was rarely used is safe for immediate use, but the opposite is actually true. A fireplace left neglected can have years of built-up stubborn creosote in the chimney, rust on its surface that needs to be removed and painted over, a cap that needs to be replaced or other issues. It’s best to have your chimney inspected by a chimney expert you trust so you have the confidence to build your first fire without worry.

Once you have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned, you are ready to use it for your own warmth. Make sure to only use seasoned wood that is untreated (free of oils, sealants and other chemicals) for safe and clean burning. Your chimney expert can show you how to safely use the damper and other components of your fireplace so you have ample, reliable warmth all season long.

Remember to have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually for the safest fireplace use in the home. If you notice smoke billowing back into your home when you light a fire or you fail to keep logs burning once lit, call your expert chimney sweep so they can check your unit for any issues.

A reliable fireplace can give you ample heat and a welcoming feel to your home. Your new home with a fireplace has many benefits you can enjoy as the weather turns cool. Allow our experts at The Cinder Box to help you keep your wood burner safe for use.