The majority of homeowners with wood-burning stoves and/or fireplaces understand the need for an annual chimney cleaning and inspection. On the flipside, many homeowners don’t realize that their oil and/or gas heating appliances—be it a furnace, boiler or even a hot water heater—also rely on a chimney for proper venting of the exhaust. Granted, oil- and gas-fueled appliances may not produce the creosote that wood-burning appliances do; however, they still produce soot which is a highly corrosive substance that can do real damage to the inside of their respective chimneys. In many cases, these substances can wreak havoc on the chimney without producing any external symptoms until the problem has gotten so far out of hand that it becomes extremely dangerous and very expensive to repair. We implore you to avoid this type of thinking.
Oil and Gas Furnace Chimney Cleaning
The best time of year to have your oil and gas chimney cleaned is in the spring, after the heating season has officially reached its end or right before the heating season. During the winter, your gas- and oil-fueled furnaces are subjected to long running cycles that produce soot and other substances that can cling to the sides of your chimney. The accumulation of these substances will restrict the flow of the flue gases (nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor mostly). The combustion process also produces carbon monoxide, which is an extremely dangerous gas that needs to be vented properly for the safety of everyone in your home. If allowed to spill back into your home instead of going up the chimney, the potential of individuals in your home falling victim to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is undeniable.
“My furnace service company handles my chimney maintenance”
A big misconception on the part of many homeowners is that the furnace service company takes care of the chimney maintenance as part of their process. The service company may shovel out the base of the chimney and/or brush out the connector pipes if you’re lucky, however, they won’t give the chimney a thorough inspection and cleaning. Most furnace technicians fail to mention anything about the chimney, leaving homeowners with a false sense of security, as they believe that everything is fine, which may or may not be the case. This misconception can have dire consequences for your home and your family; your chimney could suffer significant damage while your family could fall victim to CO poisoning.
Annual Inspections and Sweepings are Important
An annual inspection and cleaning by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep can help find problems before they get out of hand, as they’ll be able to offer advice and recommend measures to make your entire system function more safely and efficiently. Gaskets and joints could potentially wear out unbeknownst to you, thereby leading to poisonous and deadly carbon monoxide being released inside your home. A few dollars spent on corrective measures now could save thousands in expensive system repairs down the road.