Having a fireplace in your home is one of the greatest luxuries especially in the cold winter months. There is simply nothing like having a warm fire burning, the smell of wood crackling and the peaceful ambiance a burning fire provides. I mean there is something definitely to be said about drinking hot chocolate around a fire and enjoying loved ones and friends during the holiday’s! However, chimney’s also come with upkeep by that of a professional chimney sweep! Ok, I’ll spare you the rhymes but chimney maintenance is a necessity and should be taken very seriously. In fact the NFPA ( National Fire Protection Association) advises that you have your chimney PROFESSIONALLY cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
So what exactly are the top three dangers associated with unmaintained chimney’s?
First off chimney fires are a very real thing and happen more often than most of us realize. While the flames spouting from your chimney may look beautiful they are anything but when paired with the destruction and potential fatal effects that can occur. When burning wood, a natural substance called creosote is produced. This natural tar like substance sticks to the inside walls and material of your chimney. When left uncleaned it can ignite when a new fire is started. The scary thing about this is that often times you have no idea you even have a chimney fire. The flames can burn low with in your chimney and go unnoticed. However the high temperatures that occur can often seep into your homes walls and ignite any flammable material that may be inside of you walls, like insulation etc. From there the fire will spread even quicker and can completely burn your house down and create a potential fatal scenario for those inside the home.
Next we have carbon monoxide poisoning. We all have heard about this poisoning but never believe it could happen to us. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the deadliest poisonings and because it is odorless can go left undetected. When fuel is burned carbon monoxide is produced. Even at low levels carbon monoxide ingestion can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion and fainting. Blocked chimneys can cause of build up of this gas and with nowhere to go will eventually seep back into your house harming those inside the home. That is why it is so important to make sure your chimney’s flue is clear before burning any fire.
Smoke damage is also a very real thing and can often happen from having a dirty chimney. When a chimney is not regularly cleaned soot will accumulate around the flue. This makes it harder for smoke to go upwards and be released through the chimney vent on your roof. Where does the smoke go then? Back into your house ofcourse. The materials that make up this moke are sticking and permanently stain to furniture, fixtures, floors and the outside walls of your chimney. Nobody enjoys smoke damage or breathing in the sticky black matter as well.
These are just a few of the reasons that regular chimney maintenance is suggested. Enjoying a fire can be great but never at the cost of you or your loved ones health or lives. Be smart when maintaining your chimney. Remember that the cost is far worth it because if left un maintained the cost of starting over from all of your personal belongings, memories and home being burned to the ground would be 100x more expensive. The safety of your friends and family definitely never will have a price!!