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Inspecting and Cleaning Your Chimney is Not a DIY Job

chimney sweepThe chimney is a vital safety system. It contains the burning flames in your fireplace and prevents toxic fumes from polluting your indoor air. And with the accumulation of dirt, creosote, and other stains, the chimney interior is a dark and grimy chamber. It requires an annual inspection and cleaning to continue keeping your home and family safe while enjoying the warmth of a cozy fireplace or heating stove.

To save money, some homeowners attempt to clean the chimney themselves. But without proper training and the right equipment, homeowners can injure themselves and even miss dangerous problems that put their home and family at risk. Here are five reasons why homeowners should avoid DIY chimney cleaning and hire a certified professional

Lack of professional training and equipment

Cleaning the chimney is not as easy as it may appear. And most homeowners don’t have the training, experience, and professional equipment necessary to perform a thorough inspection and cleaning. Chimney professionals undergo a rigorous training and credentialing program to earn their chimney certification. All certified chimney professionals are also required to complete recurrent training to maintain their certification. At Hudson Valley Chimney, our technicians are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute (CSIA) which assures our customers they are receiving the highest level of service.

Increases the risk of fire

Every winter, there are thousands of chimney fires across the country, resulting in millions of dollars in damages. Most chimney fires are due to an excessive amount of creosote. Creosote is a tarry and flammable substance. It will continue to accumulate unless it is removed. But removing it without damaging the flue can be extremely difficult. As little as 1/8″ of creosote is all it takes to start a fire. Since the risk of fire is too great, homeowners should only trust a Certified Chimney Sweep to clean the chimney.

Serious chimney problems may be overlooked

chimney inspectionHomeowners attempting to clean their chimney will often ignore other potentially dangerous issues that could have deadly consequences. For instance, small cracks in the flue liner, spalling bricks or drafting issues could cause toxic fumes, including carbon monoxide, to back up into your home. Carbon monoxide (CO2) is an odorless and colorless gas that is often called the silent killer. More than 50,000 people are treated each year for carbon monoxide poisoning. It is yet another reason why homeowners should have their solid and liquid fuel heating appliances inspected annually by a trained professional.

You can damage the chimney

Using the wrong products and tools can do more harm than good. You may damage the flue liner, chimney cap, masonry, and other components. These types of damages increase the risk of water leaks, drafting, and other dangerous problems that will likely result in more expensive chimney repairs in the future.

You could injure yourself

Whether its attempting to clean the narrow chimney interior or clearing blockages in the flue, it’s very easy for someone to injure themselves when they don’t have the protective gear, training or experience. Climbing onto your roof to remove pests, and other debris trapped in the flue is very dangerous. More than 164,000 people are injured, and over 300 lose their lives each year falling off the ladder, based on statistics from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

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