The Dangers Of Not Cleaning Your Chimney

Many folks have a charming fireplace and chimney in their Washington, DC, home but need to sweep it more often. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why chimneys are only sometimes the priority. Perhaps, a seemingly more important task arose, they're new homeowners unfamiliar with proper chimney maintenance, or they don't believe their chimney needs cleaning. So, here are some of the many dangers to your home and family of NOT cleaning your chimney.

Dangerous Chimney Fire in Annandale, VA

Chimney Fires

Homeowners with a fossil or solid fuel heating appliance must realize that chimney fires are the primary cause of house fires throughout the Greater Washington DC metropolitan area. Home heating fires result in approximately $1B in property damage every year, according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), most fires are small and put themselves out unbeknownst to the homeowner. However, the intense heat from even a tiny chimney fire cause cracks in the softer interior masonry walls and terra cotta clay flue tiles. That increases the risk that another fire in the chimney may ignite nearby combustible materials such as the wood frame chase, attic, and roof deck.

Getting your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once per year by a certified chimney professional, like Bethesda Chimney, is a simple and affordable way to protect your home and family from a devastating fire.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

One of the reasons for a chimney is to vent harmful contaminants, including carbon monoxide exhaust, from your home. When left unchecked, the build-up of soot, creosote, leaves, and debris in the chimney can clog the vent pipe resulting in a flue obstruction. In addition, the restriction of airflow can cause toxic carbon monoxide gas to leak slowly into your home. It is lethal to humans and pets. Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Without immediate intervention, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in loss of consciousness and death.

Costlier Chimney Repairs

Whether you have a wood or gas-burning heating appliance, the corrosive combustion gases can eat their way through the interior masonry walls, firebrick, and flue liner, resulting in costlier repairs and premature replacement. Bethesda Chimney's annual cleaning service will help prolong the life of the brick and mortar, liner, and other essential components.

Animal Nests

Animal Nests Obstructing Chimney Flue in Tysons Corner VA

It may not be on top of your mind, but it is not uncommon to have animals living in your chimney. Bats, chimney swifts, opossums, and raccoons, are commonly found nesting in ducts in the District of Columbia and neighboring communities. These nests are combustible and are the cause of many chimney fires.

However, with annual sweeping and inspections, you can avoid many hidden dangers inside your home.

Displaced in the Middle of the Night

The nightmare scenario where a family wakes up to a blazing house fire in the middle of winter happens all too often. It occurs when materials in the chimney combust into flames, spreading quickly to the attic, roof, and walls throughout your home. It can cause extensive property damage, displacing your family until the house is repaired or rebuilt.

Homeowner’s Insurance Claim Denial

Most homeowner’s insurance policies in Rockville, MD, and the DC area require your home, including attached heating appliances like your fireplace, insert, or stove, to be appropriately maintained. Failure to maintain or clean your chimney could result in a claim denial or even a partial loss of coverage.

Professional Chimney and Fireplace Cleaning in Arlington, VA

Professional Chimney Cleaning in Washington, DC

Skipping your annual chimney inspection and cleaning isn’t worth the risk. Bethesda Chimney is your hometown provider of professional chimney cleaning, inspection, and repair for residential, commercial, and government buildings throughout the Greater Washington DC, Montgomery County, MD, and Northeast Virginia area.

Call 703-935-4444 to schedule an appointment with a Certified Chimney Sweep® for a free estimate. Or, contact us online to speak with a home heating expert.

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