For many people, a chimney is just a cosmetic feature; they know the fireplace works but stick to using the home's heating system (sans fireplace) instead. This lack of use makes the idea of cleaning the chimney seem odd, but it's something that has to be done on a regular basis; yearly is a good schedule. Even if you do not use the fireplace or have not used it for a long time, problems can form inside the chimney that a good cleaning will reveal.
If you haven't used the fireplace in a long time but have used it previously or know that the home's previous owners used it, you could have creosote built up inside the chimney. That creosote can begin to stink in hot weather, and cleaning it out is the fastest solution. Humidity adds to the problem, so if your fireplace and chimney seem especially stinky on days like that, then you know now what the problem is. Before the next hot, humid, stinky summer invades your house, get that chimney cleaned out.
Perhaps you've never used the fireplace and the house was bought new. No need to clean out the chimney, right? Nope. Each year brings with it the renewed threat of animal nests in your chimney. These are not always little birds' nests perched visibly at the top of the chimney; sometimes they can be just inside, out of sight, or farther down the chimney. And, they can also involve small furry animals like mice or raccoons. Don't assume the chimney is fine just because you have never built a fire in the fireplace.
Seismic or Settling Damage
Your chimney can also develop structural defects over time. While a straight cleaning might not spot very minor issues, a thorough cleaning that includes an inspection can spot those, and even regular cleanings help spot major issues. If you live in a quake-prone area, moderate shakes can create damage that you might not know how to identify. As houses settle, too, the chimney can start to develop problems.
Cleaning out the chimney once a year is like getting your furnace inspected before winter. Even if you don't think there is a problem, the appointment lets a technician see what's going on inside the chimney and ensure that it's clean and ready to go for winter. If you want to use the fireplace over the colder months, you need a clean chimney. Don't wait until it's truly cold to get going with this maintenance.
For more information, contact chimney cleaning service like A & A Chimney Sweep.