According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, also known as CSIA, chimneys, and fireplaces caused over 22,000 residential structure fires in 2014. Dirty chimneys can often cause these chimney fires which can be dangerous and even fatal to residents.
If you want to prevent problems with your chimney, it is vital to regularly get a chimney cleaning service. Here are the top dangers of a dirty chimney and why taking care of your chimney with regular chimney maintenance is important.
1. Carbon Monoxide
One of the biggest dangers of having a dirty chimney is that it can expose you to carbon monoxide. This can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no odor, color, or taste.
This means that it is nearly impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide is most commonly caused by burning material that includes carbon. These types of materials include natural gas, oil, coal, and wood.
If your chimney is dirty, this means that it will not have proper ventilation and you may be breathing in this gas.
If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, there are other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to watch out for. These include weakness, a dull headache, nausea, confusion, and more.
2. Creosote Exposure
Creosote is a byproduct of combustion in your fireplace. It is a black, tar-like substance that can cause many issues.
When this substance builds up and you are exposed to creosote, you can get many symptoms of creosote exposure. These side effects include irritation to your skin, rashes, and other topical issues. However, there are other more dangerous things that can happen when you are exposed to creosote. These include more serious side effects like vision loss, seizures, and even cancer in rare cases.
Creosote exposure can lead to many long-lasting illnesses and dangerous side effects. To prevent any of these health issues, you need to regularly clean and maintain your chimney.
When you hire a professional chimney sweep, they will check for creosote buildup and will remove any dangerous buildup in your fireplace.
3. Chimney Fire
As previously mentioned, having buildup and debris in your chimney can lead to a chimney fire in your home. This is one of the most dangerous risks of a dirty chimney.
Again, when you use your fireplace, there are byproducts of the combustion that occurs. This includes creosote. When creosote builds up and is exposed to high temperatures, it can ignite and cause a fire.
To prevent chimney fires, it is important to regularly maintain and clean your chimney to remove this buildup of creosote.
There are many signs of a chimney fire that don’t always include a huge fire and dangerous flames. For example, some of these include smoke and heat damage to your roof, warped metal, and even cracked or damaged chimney flue tiles.
If you recognize any of these signs, it is vital that you hire a professional to come and take a look at your chimney!
4. Health Risks
Another issue that arises from having a dirty chimney is health risks for the residents of your home.
As was mentioned before, using your fire creates a buildup of particles and contaminants. When you use a dirty fire, these particles are sent into the air. This means that your family members and people in your home can be breathing in harmful contaminants.
This can lead to health risks including asthma, eye irritation, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more.
Chimney Cleaning and Maintenance
When you have a fireplace in your home, you will want to clean your chimney at least once every year. You may need to clean your chimney more often depending on how much buildup your fire causes.
If you don’t have too much buildup in your chimney, you may be able to clean the soot yourself. However, creosote buildup may require a professional chimney cleaning service to help.
To clean and maintain your chimney, a chimney sweep will help break off the debris that has built up on the inside walls of your chimney.
Cleaning a chimney also comes with risks. If you are considering cleaning your chimney on your own, you should understand the dangers associated. First, you will need to climb a ladder and be on top of a steep roof. This is especially dangerous when you have a tall chimney.
You will also need to get the correct tools to properly clean your chimney. These include wire brushes, a vacuum, and other safety precautions, like a mask and safety goggles.
However, hiring a professional chimney cleaner can make this process much less stressful and difficult! A professional company will already have all the tools necessary to clean your chimney and can get it done more quickly and safely.
A professional company can also help make repairs to your chimney if it isn’t working properly, if it is too old to function, or if you are experiencing any other issues!
Get A Professional Chimney Cleaning Service to Help!
Chimney cleaning and maintenance is an easy way to prevent all of the dangers of a dirty chimney. If you want the help of a professional chimney cleaning service, Six Penny Chimney can help! We offer chimney cleaning and repair services in Woodbridge, Virginia.
If you would like the help of our team members, contact us today to learn more about our chimney services, the dangers of a dirty chimney, and to get a free quote!