Your chimney has a specific job to do and is vital to the function of the fireplace. Many homeowners prefer to have a fireplace due to the ambiance of a winter fire, but others rely on a stove for home heating. Regardless, the chimney is vital for not just efficiency, but safety.

Particulate Matter

Identifying Chimney Health Hazards - Valparaiso IN - Northwest FireplaceWhen a wood fire burns it is considered organic fuel. The wood burns, leaving behind ash, but many might not know that the wood never burns completely. There are actually wood particles that linger in the air or (ideally) escape up the chimney. This particulate matter can cause respiratory issues to the family living in the home, and even chronic illnesses related to the respiratory system. Particulate matter is microscopic and can be inhaled into the lungs without you knowing. To prevent excessive pollution, burn only properly seasoned wood. Wood that is dry will burn more completely than wet or fresh wood. Never burn clothes, trash, or leaves in your fireplace.

Carbon Monoxide

Whenever fuel is burned a natural byproduct is carbon monoxide. Often called The Silent Killer, carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, and kills. Because of the nature of the symptoms, CO poisoning often goes unnoticed until the individual’s organs have been compromised so much that they are in critical condition. Fifty percent of all cases of carbon monoxide are from inside homes. This means something inside the home emits carbon monoxide. This can be a gas generator, a kerosene heater, and a number of other things, including a fireplace without proper ventilation.

Soot and Creosote Exposure

Soot and creosote exposure is one of the biggest reasons to hire a professional chimney sweep. If it gets on the skin it can cause severe itching and rash. The “dust” that stirs when you attempt to clean your own chimney flue is actually soot and creosote particles. Prolonged exposure to creosote can lead to:

  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Respiratory issues
  • Abdominal issues
  • Seizures and confusion
  • Cancer

When you hire a professional to clean your chimney system he will use specialized tools to brush away the soot and creosote as well as a high-powered vacuum system that will collect all the particles and pieces. Having your chimney cleaned regularly is one very important step to insure it works properly through burning season. If it isn’t maintained properly it leads to a drop in efficiency that might expose your family to danger including particulate pollution and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Schedule your chimney sweep or chimney inspection with Northwest Fireplace and Chimney today. Our main priority is the safety of our customers in the Valparaiso area. Schedule your appointment online for your convenience.