Last winter was one of the mildest in recent times. Many homes barely used the fireplace or other alternative heat sources. However, just because they were barely used does not mean that they do not need to be inspected and cleaned before they are used again this winter.
Some homeowners make the mistake of thinking that light usage means the chimney could not possibly be dirty or need a cleaning. What many do not understand is that even with light usage, there are other factors involved when it comes to chimney cleanliness and safety of operation.
Weather conditions will also affect your chimney. For instance, homes on the east coast that were affected by Hurricane Sandy will definitely need their chimneys cleaned and inspected. Storms such as this can not only blow debris and water into the chimney, but the integrity of the chimney may also be compromised.
Something else to consider is wildlife. Birds and other small animals may get into the chimney and nest over the spring and summer. This often happens and the homeowner is not even aware of it. However, this is something that is easily spotted during a cleaning and addressed. The chimney sweep will clean the area if possible, as long as they are not chimney swifts, or recommend that you use some type of extermination service to remove the animals.
Regular chimney cleanings will give you some peace of mind when winter rolls around and you need to use your fireplace again. The last thing any homeowner wants is for a plume of smoke to come bellowing back down the flue or to hear the panic calls of animal trapped inside the chimney. Regardless of how much you used your chimney last season or expect to use it this year, schedule your cleaning today!