If you have a fireplace, then you are likely aware of the importance of keeping your chimney clean to prevent fires and the potential buildup of toxic gases. Many homeowners mistakenly believe they can save themselves some money by cleaning their chimneys on their own, but this can be downright dangerous for people who are not properly trained. Here are five reasons why DIY chimney cleaning is a bad idea.
#1 – Slips and Falls are Common
Believe it or not, a measurable percentage of homeowners who attempt to clean their own chimneys end up falling from their roofs and suffering significant injuries. For this reason, it is often best to leave the chimney cleaning jobs to the professionals. They have the training, equipment, and experience they need to keep themselves safe while they traverse the roof and clean the dangerous soot and creosote buildup.
#2 – It’s Hard to Keep Soot Out of Your Home
Many of the homeowners who attempt to turn chimney cleaning into a DIY project find that it is more difficult than they anticipated to keep the soot out of their homes. Sweeping and scrubbing the inside of the chimney loosens this debris, and without the proper protections in place, clouds of black soot can fall down into your fireplace and billow outward into your home. It is incredibly difficult to clean, and you may end up incurring even more costs than if you had called a professional from the start.
#3 – You Might Miss a Structural Issue
When you hire a professional chimney sweep, these individuals do much more than simply remove buildup from the inside walls of the chimney. They also take a look at the basic structure of the fireplace to check for any potential issues that could lead to catastrophe. Things like a cracked flue, a damper that does not work properly, or even an issue with the flashing between the chimney and the roof can cause serious issues, and unless you know what you’re looking for, you probably won’t spot these things on your own.
#4 – You Likely Don’t Have the Required Tools
Today’s professionals utilize a variety of tools designed to get your chimney clean, protect your home, and protect themselves in the process. These tools include things like special creosote brushes, unique chemical cleaners, and even cameras to get up close to the inside of the chimney and look for buildup. Though you could purchase this equipment, it is cheaper and safer to simply hire a pro.
#5 – There is No Room for Error
Many homeowners mistakenly believe that if they miss a small patch of soot or creosote during the cleaning, it’s not a big deal, and everything will turn out for the best. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Even a small patch of uncleaned creosote can catch fire and spread to your home with devastating effects. What’s more, slight cracks in masonry or other imperfections can cause structural damage to your home or even put your family’s health at risk.
Though you might save a little money by cleaning your chimney on your own, the truth is that it is not a DIY job for the reasons listed above. All too often, those who try to save a little money inadvertently cause more issues due to inexperience, and this costs far more than a professional chimney cleaning would have in the first place. To keep yourself, your family, and your home safe, always call a professional for chimney cleaning.