Can A Dirty Chimney Make You Sick?
The more you have fires in your fireplace, the more debris and soot may accumulate on your chimney walls. This is why it’s typically encouraged to have your chimney cleaned annually. But what happens if you let this slide for a bit? It’s possible that the accumulated dirt could lead to some sicknesses.
What are the main culprits for this and potential illnesses? Read on to learn more.
The biggest byproduct of fires is creosote – a highly flammable, tar-like substance. This is a toxic combustion material that may accumulate on the chimney walls the more you have fires. It’s not an immediate threat to your health because a small amount is expected. However, if it gets neglected, the buildup can become extreme. If you make direct contact or breathe in this material, it can have potentially adverse health effects.
Symptoms from creosote exposure
Having direct exposure to creosote is rare, however you may encounter this if you attempt to clean your chimney yourself. This is because our professionals have special equipment to ensure there is no air pollutant in your home.
If you were to be exposes to creosote, you may experience respiratory issues, rashes, eye irritation, inflammation of your mouth, nose or throat, along with other acute symptoms. Long term exposure could lead to cancer or other serious illnesses. This is why it’s important to perform regular cleanings from licensed professionals.
What happens if the buildup gets too extreme?
If your chimney continues to build up this creosote without regular cleanings, it can lead to a chimney fire. Since creosote is extremely flammable, it continuously burns as you have a fire. If this gets out of hand, it can potentially destroy the flue from extreme heat. The destroyed flue could lead to a life-threatening, out of control house fire.
If you or anyone in your family are over exposed to carbon monoxide, they may experience any or all of the following symptoms:
• A dull headache
• Loss of consciousness
• Shortness of breath
• Blurred vision
Additionally, if your chimney liner is too built up with creosote, combustion gases from the fire can produce more toxic fumes inside your house. This happens because the exit path for those toxic fumes are obstructed and then they flow back into your house. The biggest risk associated with this is carbon monoxide poisoning. This is a very serious concern and often known as the “silent killer.”
It’s important to ensure this risk is minimized by annual cleanings, up-to-date carbon monoxide detectors, and regular upkeep.
Contact Twin City Fireplace
Twin City Fireplace is a family-owned company that’s committed to providing outstanding customer service and top-rated chimney and fireplace services for residents throughout Minnesota. We specialize in the sales, service, and installation of gas and wood-burning fireplaces, and offer professional brick and stone installation, construction, and design.
We’re always here to help answer questions and offer top quality service. You can trust our work as we employ licensed general contractors, gas fitters, and skilled masons and artisans for a seamless sale-to-installation process.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at either of our locations.
In Edina, call 952-941-2685, and in Woodbury, call 651-204-0112.