Myths and Facts About DIY Chimney Cleaning

A clean chimney enhances your home’s appearance and safety. It protects your house from fires and locks out raccoons and other pests. Yet, do-it-yourself (DIY) tips for chimney cleaning can confuse many homeowners because they cannot always distinguish the truth from the myths. 

Knowing the myths, facts and risks of DIY chimney cleaning can help you make informed decisions to protect your home. 

3 Common Myths About Chimneys and Fireplaces

Here are three myths about chimneys, plus three truths about this part of your home:

1. You Don’t Need Annual Chimney Inspections 

Some people believe they don’t need an expert to inspect their chimney when they don’t use firewood. Even if you’re not using firewood that produces creosote, you still need a chimney inspection. The chimney’s ventilator is prone to other issues, such as water leakage. 

The crown is the part of the chimney that directs water away from your home. When the crown wears out, the surrounding bricks, mortar joints and flue tiles can also crack. Water that seeps in leads to further cracking when it freezes. It can then melt during summer and seep into your walls, staining them. The water may prove a risk to furniture and other valuable items. 

A professional detects issues with the crown early and recommends solutions to protect your home in advance.

2. Burning Softwood Leads to More Soot Buildup

Soot, which is a type of creosote, results from unburned wood, and the soot buildup in a chimney can lead to a fire. Common byproducts of burning wood comprise smoke, hydrocarbons, minerals, gases and unburned wood particles. Soot can come from either softwood or hardwood, and avoiding softwood won’t solve the issue. 

As long as the wood is dry, there shouldn’t be an increase in soot with either type. Using seasoned firewood reduces the production of creosote and other byproducts.

3. You Don’t Need Regular Cleaning When You Install a Metal Chimney Liner 

Installing a metal liner protects your home, as a metal chimney liner is durable and can reduce the buildup of soot that causes chimney fires. However, the liner still needs regular cleanup because while it reduces the soot, it does not entirely prevent the buildup. 

You need to clean your chimney to ensure the liner works properly. Inspection and cleaning enable you to detect issues with the liner so you can repair it early. If you need insurance compensation, proving that you clean and inspect the liner yearly can quicken the process. 

DIY Chimney Cleaning Risks

Thinking of chimney cleaning as an easy task can tempt you to do it yourself. However, a professional who knows the cleaning process and has the equipment for the task is a better choice. This job is risky for a homeowner who is not an expert in cleaning chimneys. Some of the risks include: 

  • The likelihood of lung cancer: You breathe in hydrocarbons and other substances that increase your risk of lung cancer when you’re exposed to soot. Allowing a professional with the right equipment to do the job preserves your health and that of your family members.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning: Fixing parts of the chimney incorrectly can restrict the free flow of air, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. A chimney expert knows how to take out and fix the different parts correctly. Hiring a professional safeguards your family from the dangerous gas. 
  • Skin irritation: Soot may irritate your or your family members’ skin when coming into contact with it. Hiring a professional who uses protective equipment ensures you and your family do not come into contact with the oily byproduct.

Contact Atlanta Chimney Doctor for Annual Inspection

Chuck Conner is the owner of Atlanta Chimney Doctor and a certified Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) professional. He hires certified professionals to clean and install chimney caps and liners and perform many other chimney services in Atlanta. 

When we work for you, you can trust that Chuck accompanies his team to guide them in delivering exemplary service. Our experts can protect your home and property, and Chuck delivers on his promise promptly. Learn how the Atlanta Chimney Doctor’s chimney cleaning process works by requesting our service today.