The kids are out of school, you’re enjoying weekends on the lake, and your neighborhood is a community hot spot for cookouts and pool parties. So why would you think about fireplace maintenance during these warm summer months? Most homeowners only begin to think about scheduling their annual chimney sweep when chilly nights begin to arrive. But did you know that summer is the best time to have your chimney inspected?

Why get your chimney swept?

Well-maintained fireplaces and chimneys can bring decade upon decade of warmth and togetherness to a family. Poorly maintained chimneys, however, become at best, an eyesore, at worst, a genuine danger to the home and the people who live in it.

Well-maintained fireplaces and chimneys can bring decade upon decade of warmth and togetherness to a family. Poorly maintained chimneys, however, become at best, an eyesore, at worst, a genuine danger to the home and the people who live in it.

Although you likely have the maintenance done each year, you may not know the reasons behind having an annual chimney inspection and sweep performed. While most homeowners schedule their sweep during the fall and winter months, the spring and summer present several risks to the safety of your family. To begin, animals may build nests in your chimney. Small rodents and birds can not only build flammable homes, but if they happen to die inside your chimney, they will cause a horrible smell that can permeate throughout your entire house. They may also cause noise in your home while they inhabit your chimney, leaving you with no other choice than to have the animals exterminated or removed. Secondly, the spring thaw may cause damage or cracks to your chimney or any supporting structure. These repairs will have to be made before the onset of cold or icy weather.

Why inspect in the summer months?

You may not think about your fireplace as frequently in the heat of summer as you do with the chill of winter, but there are several reasons why it’s best to have your maintenance done in the warmer months. The first reason is the ability of your technician to safely diagnose and repair any damage or structural flaws he finds in your chimney system. Ice on your roof, or a roof covered in foot-high snow drifts is not amenable to safe repair. Secondly, creosote, the sticky residue which builds up in your chimney when you use your fireplace, is an extremely flammable substance. Homeowners clean their chimneys of creosote to rid themselves of this hazard. However, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, creosote also smells extremely bad. During the warmer months this smell can permeate your home, a very undesirable occurrence. The final and simplest reason for a summer inspection is the potential of having to wait for a longer period before your chimney sweep will be able to fit you into his schedule. Since most homeowners are apt to wait until the fall and winter, you’re less likely to book an early appointment than if you call in the spring or summer. Longer wait times in the fall will mean a longer period until you’re able to safely use your fireplace.

Despite the heat of summer, every homeowner should have fireplace maintenance on their mind. Not only will a summertime fireplace sweep prepare your chimney system for the cool months ahead, but will ensure a comfortable, safe and relaxing winter season of fireplace use for you and your family.