Importance of Keeping Your Chimney Flue Clean

Importance of Keeping Your Chimney Flue Clean

Updated: 4/10/2018

Having a chimney in your home will require you to put in a lot of effort and attention in keeping it clean. Part of owning a chimney is regular maintenance, which will help prolong the life of the appliance, keep it working safely, and prevent other problems such as odor issues and health concerns.

Most importantly, cleaning your chimney flue helps with fireplace safety. There have been instances where house fires have started because of chemical buildup in the interior wall of the chimney. Homeowners who disregard this danger are at risk of igniting a fire one of these days.

What are the risks associated with unclean flues?

Smoke Damage

Normally, chimney owners burn wood for their fireplace. This burning of wood creates soot, which needs to escape the chimney by going up and into the air. Unclean chimneys may cause the flue to clog, blocking the soot from escaping. The smoke will travel back into the house, causing your residence to smell. In addition, smoke that has travelled back into the house can leave black marks on household items such as frames and other decorative pieces. Soot stains can be difficult, even impossible, to remove. Clogged flues also have the potential of leaking harmful toxins into your home.

Health Issues

Whenever you light your fireplace, carbon monoxide is released into the air. Carbon monoxide is a harmful byproduct that can cause individuals to experience nausea, headache, and fainting. Carbon monoxide that gets into the blood stream can have fatal results. In the United States, there have been thousands of deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Chimney Fires

More than 22,000 chimney fires a year occur in the United States. This makes it the most dangerous effect of having unclean flues.

How often should you clean your chimney flue?

It depends on how often you use your fireplace to burn wood. Creosote residue builds up inside your chimney as the amount of unburnt wood in your fireplace increases. So, if you use your chimney often, it would be best to regularly maintain your chimney. Modern chimneys made of prefabricated material are less prone to severe chimney damage, and have been created to withstand extreme temperatures.

To get a more reliable answer, it’s recommended to consult with a professional chimney sweep service.

What should you do at home to keep your flue regularly clean?

Aside from the help of a professional chimney sweep service, there are things you can do at home to prevent chimney flue damage.

  • Clean out ash that has gathered inside the firebox immediately.
  • Use only seasoned firewood (seasoned for around a year or more). You can ask firewood vendors to be sure that you’re buying seasoned firewood. Be sure to ask how long it has been seasoned.
  • Open the damper completely before igniting the fire inside the firebox.
  • DO NOT burn wood that has been painted or pressure-treated. This will only result in higher creosote buildup and allow toxic fumes to enter your home.
  • Arrange the logs with the largest logs on the bottom, and the smaller ones on top.
  • Hire a professional and reliable chimney sweep service to regularly check and clean your chimney.
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