How Is A Dirty Chimney Dangerous?

A chimney is a very important addition in houses where the winter months are colder. A chimney can pretty much save the day for you. But with having a chimney, it’s also important that you carry out chimney inspections and clean it regularly otherwise it will cause many problems and will also affect your health. Here are some common dangers that could be prevalent in case your chimney is dirty.

Carbon Monoxide Buildup

Carbon monoxide, having a chemical formula of CO, is a silent killer. It is usually formed by burning of wood or charcoal with gasoline or kerosene. The biggest danger about carbon monoxide is that it can’t be detected by smell or color. It is virtually colorless and it doesn’t have any odor either, and that can make the whole situation a lot scarier because you won’t know that your room is getting filled with this toxic gas and there is nothing you can do, until it’s too late.

One of the best things that you can do to keep carbon monoxide at bay is to ensure that your room and chimney are well-ventilated, so keeping the doors open, especially when the chimney is operating is crucial and can be lifesaving as well.

Too Much Creosote

Creosote is a black tar-like substance that is produced after wood is burnt. It can be found on the walls of the chimney and it can not only make the chimney look unpleasant, but it can also lead to a lot of issues. Creosote is a toxic substance and it can cause many health issues in the human body.

Creosote can lead to ailments like cancers, seizures, and coughing fits and it’s not good for your lungs at all, because it’s toxic to breathe in. This is why you must get your chimney cleaned regularly, especially if it’s being used a lot in certain seasons. Creosote removal is pretty easy, but it can be put on the back burner, and because of that, things can take a detrimental turn.

Unexpected Fires

Chimney fires and explosions are more common than you think. A chimney needs to be free of any obstruction because this can cause smoke to build up and if there is any flammable material present in the chute, then it can flare up a fire pretty quickly. Creosote is a fire producer and an accelerant and it can be one of the biggest culprits of fires in a chimney.

If your chimney is too old and has cracked and damaged metal all over and around the flue, then it can also be a huge fire hazard. You need to do everything that you can, to ensure that your chimney isn’t obstructed so that a fire can’t start. If your chimney is very dirty then it’s high time that you call in a professional and gets it cleaned, because that’s the only way by which you can salvage a chimney.

General Clogging

The top half of the chimney can be a place of refuge for small animals and birds and while that may sound pretty harmless, these teeny tiny critters can obstruct the ventilation of the chimney. If there are bird nests and residences for animals in the chimney chute, then that’s going to clog the passageway for the smoke and soot and that can cause many issues.

Firstly, the chimney chute will be under a lot of pressure and it can crack in certain places, causing loss in structural integrity. Secondly, it can also cause smoke to accumulate in all of the wrong places. So, avoid these problems by consulting chimney cleaning services Upper Marlboro for an inspection and a proper sweep.

Accumulation Of Smoke

Speaking of smoke, it shouldn’t be accumulated in the room where your fireplace is. Smoke is meant to eject out of the chimney, but because of blockages and obstructions, that might not be the case. This is why you must conduct regular chimney cleaning sessions to keep animals at bay from seeking refuge in the chute as well as get rid of the soot and creosote buildup so that your chimney can operate properly without putting anything at risk.

The best time to get your chimney cleaned is right before and after winter. This can count as an annual deep clean of your chimney and this regular cleaning cycle will ensure that your chimney isn’t dirty at all and is not posing any threat to the people using it. Even if you want to save money, make sure to clean the chimney at least once a year.

Irritated Eyes

The smoke coming out of chimneys is not a normal one. This smoke is super black and thick and it can also cause a lot of issues with the eyes. The smoke coming from the chimney can have suspended particles of soot and creosote in it, that can irritate the eyes to no extent. It can cause severe redness, itchiness, and a pinching sensation in the eyes.

A lot of the time, if your eyes are exposed too much to the smoke then it can also affect your vision in the future, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Breathing Issues

Soot and creosote are also responsible for leading to different respiration issues. It’s not normal for your lungs to be breathing in toxic fumes and smoke from a chimney, so you must not expose your body to it too much. You also want to keep your surroundings ventilated, in case of unwanted clogs in the chimney.

Soot and creosote can lead to issues like coughing, and wheezing, and in rare cases, too much inhalation of soot-infested smoke can lead to cancers and irreparable breathing issues. So, instead of putting up with these dangers, it’s best to get your chimney cleaned and maintained from time to time.

Skin Problems

Creosote is not only bad for the lungs and eyes, but it can also make the skin break out. Creosote is highly irritating on the skin and if it is exposed for too long, then it can cause things like red patches on the skin, itchy arms and legs and in some cases, the bumps and patches might be filled with a white infectious liquid, that can lead to a whole different set of issues in itself.

A lot of people have skin sensitivity to creosote and soot and you want to keep the symptoms in mind, to combat this issue timely.


Bird droppings are pretty common in chimneys, but did you know that these droppings contain a certain fungus that can be hazardous to your health? This fungus is known as histoplasma capsulatum, and it can cause what’s known as histoplasmosis.

It is a general disease in which there can be chest pains, shivers, loss of appetite, and breathing issues. In a lot of cases, seizures can also be the norm and it’s a pretty serious ailment. So, it’s best to keep your chimney bird-free.


A dirty chimney can be extremely hazardous, not only to your health but to the house as well. This is why it’s important to keep it clean and maintained with the help of chimney sweep services Bowie otherwise, you’re just asking for an accident.

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