Many homes in the Hudson Valley area were built well over 100 years ago. These aged homes hold great character and charm, but they may not be as updated as their owners prefer. Older homes might suffer from outdated finishes, deteriorated foundations, and even dangerous electrical wiring. In addition, many older houses will not have the necessary hook ups to utilize a gas-burning furnace, so using a wood-burning furnace to heat the home may be the only option.
While the furnace may have been updated several times since the original was installed, it still needs regular maintenance to keep it running properly. Some newer furnaces might still hold a valid manufacturer warranty that covers any repairs or damages for the unit, but most of these do not include the care of the chimney.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends cleaning and inspecting your chimney every year, more often if you use it regularly. Because cold New York winters require daily use of the furnace and chimney for several consecutive months, these chimneys should be serviced more often. No matter what type of fuel the furnace runs on, the chimney should at the very least be checked for bird nests or other obstructions prior to use. However, have a wood-burning furnace chimney cleaned and inspected regularly is crucial to keeping any home and family safe.
Burning wood creates a tar-like by-product called creosote. This compound builds up over time on the walls of the chimney, and failing to clean the creosote off can result in disastrous consequences. First, the material is highly flammable, so leaving it to build up can cause a dangerous chimney fire. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control says the hazard of creosote includes a variety of devastating health effects. When the wood stove burns, small particles of creosote can float in the air of the home, and cause problems such as eye damage, bronchitis, lung cancer and skin cancer. The carcinogenic material will eventually settle on surfaces, including food and food preparation areas, so the compound could be ingested. This has been known to result in liver and kidney damage, chemical burns in the mouth and throat, convulsions and even death. Creosote also poses a danger to pregnant women and their fetuses, because it passes through the placenta and has caused birth defects like a cleft palate.
Due to these types of serious dangers, the chimney to a wood-burning furnace must be cleaned and inspected regularly. Even though the unit manufacturer does not cover the cost of maintaining the chimney that does not mean this care is unimportant or unnecessary. Failing to properly address the care of the chimney can have dire results.
If you live in the Hudson Valley area, call All Seasons Chimney for a professional consultation. These experts have over 25 years experience cleaning and inspecting chimneys and can bring their knowledge and skill to your home.