DIY Chimney Sweeping: Why It’s a Bad Idea
Relaxing beside a cozy fireplace is the perfect recipe for a warm and inviting atmosphere on a cold day in southeast Wisconsin. However, a wood-burning fireplace or stove leaves harmful contaminants, such as sooty deposits, ash, creosote, corrosive gas residues, and debris in the flue. So, keeping your chimney clean with periodic sweeping is not just an essential part of home maintenance; it is critical for fire prevention. But, while keeping your fireplace clean and tidy between professional cleanings should be standard practice, here’s four reasons why DIY chimney sweeping is a bad idea.
Ladder Falls Are the Most Common Cause of DIY Injuries
First, since chimneys typically extend through the roof on the exterior wall of a house, there is often a great deal of personal risk involved in climbing to the top of the stack to clean a chimney. Even a trained professional can accidentally fall off the ladder. Unfortunately, ladder falls are the leading cause of accidental injuries and fatalities in Illinois, Wisconsin, and around the nation, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). For this reason alone, DIY chimney sweeping is a bad idea.
A Chimney Sweep Does More Than Clean the Chimney
In addition to the physical risk, cleaning the chimney yourself can be a costly endeavor. Professional chimney sweeps are also trained to inspect the condition of the chimney, vents, and attached heating appliances. This allows them to diagnose any issues and recommend the proper repairs or replacements to damaged components, like a chimney liner, flue cap, or damper. For example, a homeowner attempting to clean the flue may overlook potentially dangerous issues such as liner cracks, masonry damage, and other problems that can be avoided by hiring a professional like the chimney experts at Burlington Fireplace & Solar.
You May Create a Sooty Mess
Another reason DIY chimney sweeping is not recommended is due to the soot inside the chimney. Without professional training, equipment, and personal protective gear, you will breathe in dozens of harmful contaminants and carcinogenic compounds that will be disturbed when you start brushing without taking the necessary precautions. In addition, it can cause your house to be covered in soot, which can cause health issues. Our chimney professionals use industrial-strength vacuums with HEPA filters to ensure soot doesn’t contaminate your indoor air and ruin your furnishings.
Creosote is a Harmful Contaminant
Not only is attempting to clean a chimney yourself a safety risk, but it is also challenging for a layperson to remove all the flammable creosote buildup without professional training, supplies, and equipment. Creosote is a form of tar that is produced when burning wood. It sticks to the walls, liner, and other areas of the flue, reducing draft and trapping hazardous gases in the chimney.
A failure to properly clean the chimney is often cited as the primary cause of house fires in Kenosha, WI, and throughout southeast Wisconsin and Northeast Illinois, primarily during the winter, according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics.
Professional Chimney Sweeping Service in Racine, WI
Don’t let your fireplace, chimney, vents, and attached heating appliances become a fire and health hazard. Instead, call the locally-owned and operated chimney professionals at Burlington Fireplace at 262-763-3522 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.