When it Comes to Chimney Safety, D-I-Y Can Spell Disaster


The National Fire Protection Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America both recommend that homeowners call a qualified professional for an annual chimney inspection. Only a qualified professional will be able to identify and resolve structural and maintenance issues before potential carbon monoxide intrusion and chimney fire hazards risk your time, health or money.

Famous last words of do-it-yourself “chimney sweeps”:

“I’ve swept my own chimney for 25 years and we’ve been fine…” Many homeowners don’t realize that a very thin, very combustible, layer of glazed creosote can build up over time. A qualified professional has the knowledge to identify and the tools to remove this dangerous byproduct of combustion.

“That crack has been there for years! It’ll be okay.” When a flue liner is cracked, these cracks open during the heating phase and may allow heat to be transferred to the vulnerable chimney walls. One of the important functions of the flue lining is to serve as an insulator between the hot flue gases and the chimney wall.

“I heat with gas. I don’t need to have my chimney swept.” Qualified professionals do so much more than simply run a brush up the flue. A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® will identify and help address installation issues, and possible venting issues, and provide needed maintenance and help the homeowner identify operational efficiencies.

“If I start a chimney fire, I’ll burn out all of the creosote.” Chimney fires are no casual matter. Chimney fires may melt mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage the outer masonry material. Most often, tiles crack and mortar is displaced, which provides a pathway for flames to reach the wood frame of the house. One chimney fire may not harm a home. A second can burn it down.

Annual chimney inspections and chimney maintenance is best left to a qualified chimney professional. The Chimney Safety Institute of America administers the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep program. Chimney sweeps earn the credential by passing a series of two exams on industry codes and standards and by signing the CSIA Code of Ethics.

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The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to chimney and venting system safety. CSIA is committed to the elimination of residential chimney fires, carbon monoxide intrusion and other chimney-related hazards that result in the loss of lives and property. To achieve these goals, CSIA devotes its resources to educating the public, chimney and venting professionals and other fire prevention specialists about the prevention and correction of chimney and venting system hazards.

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