How A Dirty Chimney Affects Your Health

How A Dirty Chimney Affects Your Health

Home & Garden

A chimney is a blessing in disguise in the blistering cold winters which makes your homes warm and inviting along with cutting down on your utility bills. But do you know that chimneys can also get dirty? If a chimney is not maintained and cleaned regularly by chimney cleaning services, it will become very dirty. A dirty chimney is vulnerable to house fires and also affects your health in negative ways.

Dirty chimneys can lead to many health hazards which harm you and your family in many ways. These hazards are:

Exposure To Creosote

Creosote and soot is produced when wood is burnt. Even using the driest of the woods causes little bit of creosote to be produced. This creosote is a sticky, tar like black substance which deposits on the interior walls of the chimney. This tar type substance is known to be carcinogenic when there is long term exposure. The effects on health of exposure to creosote are:

  • If you or your family member comes into contact with creosote or its fallen particles, then it can lead to skin irritation, skin rashes, itching, redness of the skin and many other skin issues.
  • Creosote particles fly into the air when wind blows and may contaminate your household air thus leading to eye irritation, eye infection and burning of the eyes which can be further aggravated with rubbing of the eyes. It can also lead to constant tearing or redness in the eyes and infection in some cases. Long term exposure may lead to loss of vision in the elderly.
  • Inhaling the air and atmosphere with creosote particles may lead to lung infection, dryness in the throat, cough, sneezing and in the long term may lead to many respiratory and breathing issues. Those people with allergies, flu or asthma should be extra careful as they will have more health issues.
  • Long term or continuous exposure to the hazardous creosote may lead to kidney and liver problems and issues.
  • Constant exposure and exposure in large amounts may also lead to seizures, fainting episodes and mental confusion.

Smoke Inhalation

When wood is burnt, the gases and fumes travel out the chimney, but some of it may also escape into your homes. You need proper air ventilation when you have a chimney in your homes, so you will need to install an exhaust in your home or a vent in the chimney or just keep the windows open to let the fresh air in your homes and let the smoke go outside. Continuous and long term smoke inhalation may aggravate your allergies or asthma if you have, and cause breathing issues, bronchial problems and lung cancer in more severe cases.

Poisoning From Carbon Monoxide

When wood is burnt, the smoke travels up the chimney and out of the chimney cap. If there is any obstruction or condensation in the chimney then the deadly gas may enter your homes. Carbon monoxide is a deadly, odorless and colorless gas. Long term inhalation of this gas may lead to lung issues, breathing problems, bronchitis, asthma, eye infection and irritation, skin allergies and rashes, nausea, fatigue, loss of concentration, dizziness, headaches and in severe cases organ failures which might eventually lead to death. This gas is very hazardous for the whole family, especially more dangerous for the elders and children in the family. You will need to use carbon monoxide detectors in your homes to see the amount of gas which has accumulated in your homes.


To prevent all these health related issues caused by burning fire in the chimney is to get your chimney swept and cleaned by professional chimney cleaners every year. Also get your chimney assessed by chimney experts to see if the chimney has any sort of leakage or damage or anything which needs to be repaired such as the chimney line, flue and the chimney cap. Another thing is to let the fresh outside air in your homes so the smoke and gases circulate and go outside.

When hiring chimney sweep services Upper Marlboro, get a quote from more than one services. This will help you find the balance between experience and cleaning costs. Also, before hiring a service, check their website and social pages to see what people are saying about them.

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