In this section, we’ll look at why you should clean your chimney. Just like clogged dryer vents cause fires that claim lives and properties every year, chimneys that are neglected by the owners also cause similar fires every year.
To avoid the buildup of flammable creosote and to help your fireplace function properly, regular cleaning of the chimney is needed so as to properly carry smoke away from the fireplace and out of the house.
In a nutshell, a clean chimney is safer. Crackling fire carries creosote which is carried by smoke into the chimney. If too much creosote accumulates on the walls of the chimney, it can catch fire. A terrible thing with chimney fires is that they can easily spread to other parts of the house without you noticing.
Besides, if thick creosote accumulates on the walls of your chimney, it can prevent the passage of dangerous gases like carbon monoxide. If these toxic gases get redirected into your home, you could suffer carbon monoxide poisoning.
When the chimney is clean
We have summarized why you need to occasionally bring in a professional to clean your chimney in the points below.
- A clean chimney will help ensure that your fireplace is functioning at improved efficiency.
- If your chimney is clean, there won’t be a buildup of creosote on the walls of your chimney which can lead to fires. Thick creosote can also prevent the free flow of carbon monoxide out of your fireplace which can make you and your household stand the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Dirty chimneys can be inefficient, but when you have a chimney sweep, you increase the working life of your chimney.
- A properly cleaned chimney gets rid of smoke properly.
The following are risks that you tend to expose yourself to with an unclean chimney.
- Creosote exposure: Creosote is a byproduct of incomplete wood combustion, and it is that black substance that builds up inside your chimney over time. Creosote buildup on the walls of your chimney can lead to the following adverse health conditions:
- Eye irritation: your eyes can get irritated, sometimes coupled with the feeling of burning sensations or actual chemical burns on constant contact with creosote debris.
- Skin irritation: rashes and other major skin issues can result from physical contact with creosote.
- Respiratory issues: you can develop lung and other respiratory problems through breathing in creosote particles for an extended period of time.
- Abdominal issue: some particles present in creosote can irritate one’s liver and kidneys.
- Mental problems: seizures and confusion can result from serious exposure to creosote.
2. Chimney soot inhalation: when wood don’t burn hot enough, it produces soot (a powdery black or brown dust) which sticks on the walls of the chimney. The risks of inhaling soot are similar to that of creosote, and they include respiratory risks and lung hazards.
3. Carbon monoxide poisoning: Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that is the byproduct of the incomplete combustion of fuel. An unclean chimney prevents the free flow of carbon monoxide out of the fireplace. This dangerous gas can get redirected into the home and cause serious health issues and even death.
Are these risks not enough to compel you to have a professional look at your chimney to determine whether it needs some sweeping or not?