It is possible to do many home projects yourself. In fact, when tax season comes around, many homeowners set out to complete remodels and building projects themselves. Sometimes this is safe and can leave the homeowner feeling accomplished and leave the home itself looking beautiful and gaining value. There are some projects, however, that is both unsafe and which can bring down the value of your home. Cleaning and inspecting your own chimney is one of them. It should only be completed by a professional who is licensed and certified. Your municipal authorities require it. Your homeowners’ insurance may even require it.
Why Hire Professionals
In some areas, your home projects must be overseen by a professional. Your city code department may require a licensed contractor to oversee all builds, installations, and remodels. Others may be more lenient. These policies are put in place to protect the whole community—not just your family and home. Before attempting a D-I-Y project like a remodel or chimney maintenance, check your homeowners’ insurance! It is likely that your policy requires service by a CSIA certified professional. Once it’s complete, you’ll get a detailed report for your records that you can use when later filing claims with your insurance. What’s more, your manufacturer’s warranty for your fire appliance or chimney parts may require professional service. Attempting a D-I-Y repair or cleaning may nullify your warranty, costing you dearly. It turns out inspecting and cleaning your own chimney can cost you in more ways than one.
The Cost of D-I-Y Chimney Care
Cleaning or inspecting your chimney system is dangerous. It’s so dangerous that Angie’s List removed an article, “How to Clean Your Chimney” due to its misleading and dangerous contradiction to safety recommendations. Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend annual chimney inspections and routine sweeps for the safest and most efficient chimney systems. These services should be done by a qualified professional who knows exactly what hazards to look for and where they might be.
INSPECTIONS – The average homeowner doesn’t know what signs indicate a chimney hazard, a drop in efficiency, or even a leak. Peering up the chimney with a mirror is a generations-old idea, but it will not keep your chimney safe because it’s impossible to see hazards this way. It’s even more impossible for an untrained eye to detect damage. A chimney leak may be the most obvious of chimney problems, but by the time there are visible signs of a chimney leak, there is serious hidden damage. A chimney expert has undergone hours of classroom and field training and is experienced in diagnostics and safety inspections. Our team at West Texas Chimney and Venting Solutions have a solution for the worst chimney problems, but to do that we have to diagnose the problems with timeliness and ease. Our technicians know exactly where to look and what to look for. If you have a smoky fireplace, we will look at the damper, check for flue obstructions, and will even check other factors like the firewood you’re burning and whether or not the chimney opening is beneath a tree branch. All of these factors affect the flow of air through the chimney system and only a professional certified in chimney science will know for certain.
SWEEPS – A certified chimney professional also knows how to clean the chimney system of dangerous obstructions and flammable buildup without damaging the lining or the chimney structure. Attempting to remove glazed creosote on your own will require chiseling and picking it from the liner, which almost always leads to liner damage. West Texas Chimney and Venting Solutions sees this type of damage periodically and the time and cost it means to our customers can be extreme. Hiring a professional to sweep the chimney will mean a mess-free cleaning from top to bottom. If there is glazed creosote present, we can tackle that mess too because a certified professional has access to industrial solvents that remove glazed creosote without damaging the chimney in the process. As professionals, we also know how dangerous breathing these soot and creosote particles can be. While we work we wear masks and we contain the mess with an industrial vacuuming system.
What to Expect When You Schedule Your Chimney Service
When you schedule a professional chimney service you can count on precision, professionalism, and prevention. That’s right, these routine services help protect your home against fire disasters and prevent chimney damage that can lead to costly repairs and a shortened chimney life.
When you schedule with West Texas Chimney and Venting Solutions, our technician will arrive on time on the appointed day. We protect your furniture and flooring with drop cloths and keep the area clean by using a vacuuming system. For cleaning, we’ll use rods and brushes to free the flue of soot and creosote and remove ash from the fireplace. For inspections, we’ll visually assess the whole system.
We complete levels 1, 2, and 3 inspections for customers in and around Amarillo, Texas. During a level 2 inspection, we even use a camera to identify interior damage and hazards.
West Texas Chimney and Venting Solutions is your solution for chimney maintenance. We offer chimney sweeps and inspections year-round to keep our customers safe and warm each winter. For more chimney safety information, click here.
To schedule with us, call 806-358-0817.