Chimney Cleaning Services: Health Hazards That Come With A Dirty Chimney

If you ask many homeowners, they will tell you the reason they seek chimney cleaning services is that they don’t want to suffer from chimney fires. Did you know dirty chimneys are a health hazard? Here are some of the ways in which you can compromise your health from having a dirty chimney:

Creosote exposure

Creosote is an oily black substance that builds up inside the chimney flue when you go for a long time without cleaning it. Creosote results when there is incomplete wood combustion. In addition to creosote being unsightly to look at, it also has a number of undesirable health effects such as:

Skin irritation: Are you allergic to dust? Chances are that when you come into contact with creosote, you will develop rashes. In severe cases, you might develop skin conditions.

Eye irritation: This goes without saying. When creosote particles are flying all over the house, they are bound to get into your eyes. As you might have guessed, this leads to eye irritation. Sometimes the irritation is grave to the extent of causing burning sensations or chemical burns.

It’s also common to develop high light sensitivity making it hard for you to undertake your daily chores outdoors.

Respiratory problems: If the creosote particles are going to irritate your eyes, chances are that they are also going to irritate your respiratory system. As a result, you are bound to start coughing, among many other things.

Cancer: Did you know that you can get cancer from creosote exposure? Long-term exposure of creosote is bound to cause skin cancer.

Abdominal problems: In severe cases, high creosote levels irritate the kidneys and liver leading to abdominal problems.

Other side effects of creosote are seizures and confusion in some people.

How can you prevent all this from happening? Simple. All you need to do is to clean the chimney at least once a year. You can do it by yourself or hire a professional to help you out.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Plenty of deaths have been reported resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. This makes extremely hazardous. You might be wondering how a dirty chimney leads to carbon monoxide poisoning, right?

When the chimney is dirty, there are materials in the chimney blocking the carbon monoxide from leaving the house. This means that the gas that is meant to go out, stays in. When substantial levels of the gas accumulate, you are bound to experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, headache, and confusion.

Inhaling large quantities of the gas at once has been shown to lead to brain damage, heart problems, and in severe cases, death.

When you hire a chimney cleaning professional, he/she should not only get rid of creosote, he/she should also inspect the insides of the chimney and remove dead birds and other materials that might be stuck there.

Chimney soot inhalation

Just like creosote, chimney soot comes about due to incomplete combustion. It comes about when wood doesn’t burn hot enough. This leads to the formation of black or brown dust sticks inside the chimney.

Failure to remove the soot early enough leads to a number of problems. The first one is lung hazard. Just like creosote, when you inhale large amounts of the soot, you have high chances of irritating the lungs. In some cases, you might cause lung disease.

In addition to this, you stand to suffer from respiratory infections when you are exposed to chimney soot for a long time.

Just like when getting rid of creosote, the only way of getting rid of chimney soot is to clean the chimney. As mentioned above, you can clean it by yourself or hire a professional to help you out.

Histoplasmosis

Histoplasmosis is a respiratory condition that comes about due to the inhalation of bird droppings. When you don’t clean your chimney regularly, chimney swifts, small, brownish birds can easily reside in your chimney. Their droppings bring about histoplasmosis.

When you are suffering from the condition you develop flu-like symptoms. They include: chronic coughs, chest pain, fever, sweats, and lack of appetite.

During chimney cleaning, the chimney sweep Bowie should identify the residence of the chimney swifts and get rid of them.

Chimney Cleaning Services: Steps To Follow When Cleaning A Chimney Wood Stove

A wood stove provides your home with warmth and coziness especially during the cold months of the year. Since you use wood in the unit, creosote and soot tend to build up fast inside it which puts your property at the risk of fire.

For you to keep your family safe, you need to undertake regular chimney cleaning. You can do the cleaning by yourself or hire chimney cleaning services providers to help you out. For you to properly clean the unit, you need to follow a set of steps. These steps include:

Ensure it’s cold

Remember that you will be elbows deep in ashes when you are cleaning the unit. Since you don’t want to get burned, you should ensure that the stove is cold enough before you start the work. For you to tell whether the unit is ripe for cleaning, you only need to touch it. You should be able to touch the unit with your bare hands and not get burned at all.

Clean the firebox

The firebox is one of the most important parts of the stove thus you should pay a lot of attention to it. The firebox is the part of the wood stove where you load the wood for you to have the fire.

For you to clean it you need an ash bucket then using a shovel from the fire set, scoop all of the old ashes. You should remove as much of the ash as possible.

The best way of telling that you have properly cleaned the unit is cleaning it until you see the brick inside the stove. During the cleaning, remember to inspect the condition of the stove. Are there loose bricks? Are the bricks cracked? You need to take a look at this. If you notice any problem, fix it as soon as possible.

Pay attention to the ash box

The ash box is located at the bottom of the wood stove. The ash box is simply a little slide out drawer that catches the overflow of ashes from the wood box. The unit gives the ashes a place to go to cool off.

Just like other parts of the wood stove, you need to clean the ash box. This is to give room for more ash that the unit might be producing. The cool thing is that it’s easy to clean the box as all you need to do is to pull the drawer and dump the contents.

Clean the outdoor unit

You shouldn’t only focus on the insides of the wood stove. You also need to think about the outside of the unit. Since the outdoor unit is on the roof, you will need a ladder to clean it. Plenty of accidents have been reported as people are getting on the roof; therefore, you should be cautious when doing it.

The best way of going about it is having someone to hold the ladder for you. For you to clean the outdoor unit you need to pull off the cap, then, using a wire chimney brush, get rid of all the soot on the insides of the unit. By doing this you will get rid of all the creosote that might have built up inside the unit.

The broken up creosote gets into the chimney stove where you can clean it or let it burn.

Pay attention to the spark box vent

Does your chimney have an attached spark box? You should clean it. The function of the spark box is to keep the fire sparks from flying up through the chimney and landing on the roof thus putting your house at the risk of catching fire.

Due to the regular use of wood, it’s common for the spark box to clog up with creosote when you go for a long time without cleaning it. The best way of cleaning it is using a chimney wire brush and rub it on the outside.

When you do this you will break up any residues that might be clogging up the vent holes. Chimney repair experts report that when the vent holes are clear, fire is able to draw air better thus the fire burns better with little or no smoke. As a consequence, little soot is deposited thus you don’t have to regularly hire a chimney sweep Columbia MD to help you with the cleaning.