What Happens If You Delay Cleaning Your Chimney?
A good question to ask if you have a fireplace is what can happen if you go too long without cleaning your chimney. Countless homeowners through the years didn’t bother to ask, and they experienced home fires, many of them totally devastating. Because they didn’t schedule chimney cleaning, many households were exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning—tragically, some families learned in the worst way that carbon monoxide exposure can be deadly. Read on to learn how going too long without cleaning your chimney can affect you.
Creosote Buildup Leads to Chimney Fires
The primary culprit behind the dangers of going too long without cleaning your chimney is creosote. If you have a wood-burning appliance, there is some creosote left behind each time you have a fire. It doesn’t take much creosote for it to cause a chimney fire.
When burning embers float up the chimney, they can ignite creosote, which is highly flammable. The more creosote there is, the longer it will feed the fire. Even the smallest chimney fires tend to do some type of structural damage. This may actually cause small chimney fires as dangerous as large ones because homeowners often don’t know when smaller ones are occurring. So, they don’t realize that the chimney should be checked before using the fireplace again.
Creosote and the Dangers of Chimney Obstructions
Creosote builds up layer upon layer. It’s really incredible the way it narrows the flue opening until the chimney draft is affected. Of course, this makes a chimney fire even more dangerous, and it causes the additional problem of chimney obstruction.
When chimneys are blocked, the toxic fumes from combustion gases can’t exit the home the way they are supposed to. As a result, they blow back into the home. This exposes everyone in the home to carbon monoxide. Exposure to carbon monoxide can be deadly. In fact, it is known as The Silent Killer because it doesn’t have an odor or a taste. It’s also invisible and doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms until a person often isn’t able to escape.
How Creosote Can Affect the Flue Liner
Another characteristic of creosote is that it is acidic. If any moisture gets into the flue, the mixture of creosote and water can cause deterioration of the flue liner. The chimney flue protects the home, but those protections are nonexistent if there is even a small crack in the flue.
Ultimately, if the flue liner is damaged, combustible parts of the home become vulnerable because of pyrolysis. The process of pyrolysis is very dangerous because it changes the combustibles so that the temperature at which they ignite is lowered. At any time, without any warning, a hazardous house fire could be ignited because of the invisible effects of pyrolysis.
Flue damage is another way in which people in the home could be exposed to carbon monoxide. It isn’t as obvious as it is when blowing back out of the fireplace. The gases, instead, enter the home through flue liner damage, often without giving a clue as to what’s happening.
Schedule Chimney Cleaning with Chimney Saver Solutions
When is the last time you cleaned your chimney? Maybe you’ve never asked: what can happen if you go too long without cleaning your chimney? Chimney Saver Solutions can prevent you from learning the hard way some of the tragic effects of using a fireplace when the chimney hadn’t been cleaned. Our CSIA-Certified chimney sweeps have the equipment needed to perform chimney cleaning, whether you have the kind that’s easy to remove or the most difficult type, which is like tar poured down your chimney. We can also repair chimney masonry, fix chimney crown damage, install chimney caps, perform all levels of chimney inspections, and more. Reach out to us at Chimney Saver Solutions using our contact form or by calling 804-440-5000 today.