The Importance of Chimney Cleaning In The Multi-Family Industry
There’s nothing cozier than a crackling fire on a cold winter night. If the apartment community you manage boasts fireplaces as one of its amenities, your residents are likely to start “lighting them up” beginning in late fall and enjoying them sometimes into early March. Once the temperature rises outside, fireplaces in Texas are more about enhancing the décor than providing warmth.
When it’s time to retire your residents’ fireplaces for the season, it’s also a great time to schedule a professional chimney cleaning company. Experts recommend having this done once a year and cite multiple reasons management companies should take a very proactive approach to caring for this important and potentially hazardous amenity. Read on for how a licensed chimney cleaning company can assist you with:
#1 Preventing Chimney Fires
Did you know that a lot of chimney fires are so small, they often go unnoticed? In fact, you may not realize you’ve had one until an inspection is performed. The likely cause of most apartment chimney fires is the buildup of creosote. Creosote is a highly acidic residue that’s created when hot combustion causes by-products to mingle with cool air in the chimney and produce condensation. This condensation sticks to the interior walls of the chimney leaving a residue that is tar-like in consistency and brown to blackish in color. It can also build up to the point where it’s smooth, shiny and hard. Hardened creosote is the most advanced and can cause extensive damage to your chimneys and even lead to a blockage if it’s not removed. Because creosote is highly combustible, having a licensed professional inspect and clean your chimneys annually is strongly recommended to prevent building fires.
#2 Removing Chimney Blockages
In addition to creosote, there are plenty of other things that can accumulate in your chimneys. Birds’ and other critters’ nests, along with leaves, twigs and even small branches can create blockages that prevent airflow and heighten fire risks. If you think about it, a chimney is designed to vent and carry more than just smoke out of our homes. Wood, gas and oil can produce a variety of toxic air pollutants and combustible by-products such as carbon dioxide, soot, acidic water vapor, tar fog and hydrocarbons. All of these contaminates will be vented safely outside with a properly functioning chimney.
#3 Odor Removal/Control
Ever notice offensive odors emanating from your fireplaces? The buildup of residue or blockages in your chimney can lead to some very foul smells, even when your fireplaces are not in use. Clearing out any buildup at the end of the burning season will significantly reduce the amount of odor emanating from your fireplaces during the spring and summer months while increasing airflow and improving overall air quality.
#4 Thorough Chimney Inspections
We all know that time, as well as residents themselves, can be particularly tough on apartment homes. When it comes to fireplace and chimney care, some of these abuses are not caught during routine move-out inspections. Take for example broken or damaged flue tiles, cracked chimney liners or warped dampers. These and other inconsistencies in the interior and exterior of your chimneys all contribute to poor chimney performance and would easily be discovered with a thorough inspection.
#5 Avoid Damage-Related Costs Associated With Fires
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of managing a property where there’s been a fire, you know firsthand the major costs involved with restoration. Not to mention the challenges involved working with insurance claims and the subsequent rise in your rates after a fire occurs. It’s worth the nominal investment involved in inspecting and cleaning every fireplace and chimney on your community annually.
One last thought—most chimney sweeping companies are super busy in the fall, just before peak fireplace season. Tackling your chimney inspections and cleanings in the spring will afford you a wider availability of chimney sweeps who can perform this work when it’s convenient for you. Scheduling multiple apartment homes with fireplaces during a specific block of time makes this task even more efficient.
Like so many things in life—when it comes to caring for your fireplaces, the old adage still rings true—an ounce of (fire) prevention is worth a pound of cure!