Chimney cleaning is a necessary home maintenance task if you use a fireplace in your home. A clean chimney is a safe chimney for both your home and for your health.
1. Prevent Chimney Fires
The primary reason to keep your chimney maintained is that a chimney fire could destroy your home. Creosote is a byproduct of wood burning. It will coat your chimney in an oily soot that can easily ignite if it isn't periodically removed. If this happens, then you risk your home burning down. Creosote builds up more quickly if you burn improperly cured and dried wood or if you have low heat fires, but even with proper fuel, creosote will eventually build up and require removal.
2. Reduce Carbon Monoxide Dangers
A dirty chimney slowly becomes blocked so that smoke and gases don't escape your home as they should. Instead, the gases leak back into your house and into the air you and your family are breathing. One of the more dangerous of these gases is carbon monoxide, which can lead to eventual organ failure and death. A clean chimney vents properly so that this is no longer a concern.
3. Avoid Ash Dust Inhalation
If gas can't escape, neither can the fine ash dust that is formed when you burn. You will be inhaling the dust, which can also impact your health. In the short term, this can lead to respiratory distress and eye irritation. Over time, you can suffer long-term lung damage or respiratory failure.
4. Find and Repair Damages
Cracks in the liner or firebox can lead to a fire hazard in your wall. These cracks can also allow smoke to leak into your house instead of being carried safely away. Flue damage is another concern since a poorly functioning flue may not allow a fireplace to vent properly. You also need the chimney cap inspected to make sure pests can't get in and lit embers won't escape onto your roof. Most cleanings also include an inspection to catch these issues.
5. Mitigate Soot Damage
Along with gases, soot will also blow back into the room if your chimney is becoming blocked. You'll start to notice an oily residue on walls, floors, and furniture. In severe cases, you may even end up with the powdery black ash visible on these surfaces. Soot can be difficult to remove, so it's better to clean the chimney to prevent soot blowback rather than try to clean up soot in the home from a dirty chimney.
Contact a chimney cleaning service in your area for more help.