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Chimney Health Hazards You Should Know About

Fireplaces are warm and cozy, and it’s easy to understand why the hearth often serves as the heart of the home. Unfortunately, the reality of fireplaces is that they aren’t always the ideal feature for a healthy home. There are some chimney health hazards you should know about.


Some chimney health hazards include:

  • Particle inhalation.
    When you burn a fire in your open-hearth fireplace, fine particles are released into the air within your home. These fine particles can make eyes burn and itch, noses run and cause lung infections like bronchitis. Regular, long-term exposure to the particles from wood-burning fires can lead to lung diseases. The health risk is greater for small children, the elderly and people with chronic lung conditions.
  • Creosote exposure.
    Each time a fire burns, creosote builds up within the chimney. That creosote can become a hazard if it breaks free and begins to flake into the fireplace and find its way into your home. Creosote can irritate skin, the eyes and the lungs. Chronic, long-term exposure can lead to organ damage.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning.
    When a chimney becomes clogged, carbon monoxide from your fireplace can’t exit your home, and the levels of carbon monoxide in your home can build up to dangerous levels. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause faintness, dizziness, nausea, confusion, organ damage and even death.
  • Disease exposure.
    Birds and bats often find their ways into chimneys and leave behind their droppings. These droppings contain a variety of bacteria. Cleaning bird droppings from your fireplace is especially dangerous because it sends the disease-causing spores airborne.

Health hazards associated with a chimney could be enough to scare any homeowner away from using their fireplace. However, you don’t need to go to extremes to keep you and your family healthy. There are several ways to protect your family from chimney-related health hazards.

To mitigate chimney health hazards:

  • Have your chimney swept at least once per year.
    When it comes to operating a chimney safely, keeping your chimney clean has the greatest impact. A clean chimney drafts more efficiently, drawing smoke and fine particles away from your home more effectively. A chimney sweeping also removes dangerous creosote, any chimney clogs that could prevent carbon monoxide from being vented and disease-carrying bird droppings or other animal waste.
  • Upgrade your appliance.
    There are other options to warm your hearth in a healthier way. You could install gas logs or a gas insert in your open-hearth fireplace. Gas burns hotter and more cleanly, reducing the amount of pollution released into your home. If you love the look of burning wood, you could consider an EPA-certified wood-burning insert, which creates less particulate matter and creates a barrier between the fire and your home.
  • Burn only dry, seasoned firewood.
    Dry, seasoned firewood burns hotter and more cleanly. That means less pollution released into your home and a slower creosote buildup within your chimney.
  • Install a chimney cap.
    A chimney cap can keep birds, bats, animals, and the diseases they carry, out of your chimney.

If you’re looking to reduce chimney health hazards in your home, call The Chimney Care Co!

Whether you need to have your chimney swept, want to upgrade your appliance, or are in need of a chimney cap to keep critters out, we can help!

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Chimney Care Company | 413 Wards Corner Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140