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Why DIY Chimney Sweeps Are Dangerous

Routine home maintenance keeps your home in excellent condition, helps you save money, and avoids expensive repairs down the line. There are many home maintenance tasks you can do yourself. You can clean your gutters, add caulk around windows, fix leaky faucets, and even clean sediment from your hot water heater. Other tasks, however, require a professional, even if you think you can manage them on your own. In this blog, we discuss why DIY chimney sweeps are dangerous.

While you might be able to find tutorials for DIY chimney cleaning, the task has no room for error. Most homeowners may be able to identify soot and creosote, but eliminating the harmful buildup entirely is another story. It’s one home maintenance project that you certainly don’t want to attempt on your own.

professional chimney sweeps.why DIY chimney sweeps are dangerousWhat Are Chimney Sweeps?

A chimney sweep is a critical procedure that needs to be done at least annually to keep your chimney and fireplace functioning properly. Certified Chimney Sweep Professionals come to your home in order to complete the chimney sweeping, inspect the chimney and if necessary provide chimney maintenance. You can learn more about What To Expect From a Professional Chimney Sweep Cleaning?

During a professional chimney sweep, a technician will inspect and prepare the area for proper sweeping by spreading a plastic down or drop cloth. Your expert will then use a long, heavy, metal bristle brush to scrape at the dirty chimney lining. They may choose to start from the roof’s chimney access by removing the damper and working downwards or to start from the flue and work upwards.

After cleaning the smoke shelf, smoke chamber, and firebox by hand, the professional will reinstall the damper. Bats and birds tend to nest in dark and warm places like chimneys. They are, however, at risk of choking or getting burnt any time you light a fire. If these animals are found, your technician will safely remove them and encourage their relocation elsewhere. Rest assured that your professional chimney cleaner will also sweep up or vacuum any debris and coatings that fall into and around the fireplace.

All of this is done by a certified chimney sweep technician. What is a certified chimney sweep technician? Chimney professionals need to pass exams to show that they know and understand the most up-to-date best practices for cleaning, inspecting, repairing, and maintaining chimneys. These educational and training requirements ensure that you’re home’s fire safety is in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing.

They are also trained and tested on a variety of other chimney and fireplace topics. Learn more about the 5 Reasons You Should Choose a Certified Chimney Sweep Service.

Why A DIY Chimney Sweep Increases Danger to Your Home

At Valley Chimney Sweep and Restoration, our certified chimney sweep pros have been leaders in chimney sweep and restoration services in the Chicago area for decades. During that time as professional chimney-sweepers, we have heard countless customers ask if they can handle their next chimney sweep on their own.

We always strongly advise against a DIY chimney sweep because of the severe potential dangers it poses. Here are the main reasons that a DIY chimney sweep is dangerous.

professional chimney sweep service photo of chimney needing chimney sweepEven Small Amounts of Lingering Buildup Can Mean Big Trouble

Cleaning a chimney requires tools that most homeowners don’t have on hand, such as creosote brushes and cleaning chemicals made specifically for chimney sweeps. Even if you’re able to purchase them, there’s a good chance that you don’t have the experience required to clean your chimney thoroughly. Failure to do so means you could leave even small amounts of soot and creosote behind. While that might not seem like such a big deal, this buildup is one of the leading causes of chimney fires with nearly  25,000 annual fires in the U.S.

Your chimney needs at least an annual chimney sweep, and within a few years of buildup from your DIY chimney sweep that buildup can pose a threat. By hiring professionals, you can rest easy knowing the job was completed correctly.

There’s a Risk of Severe Injuries

Part of chimney sweeping involves getting on the roof. Even if you’re comfortable with that, climbing on top of your house comes with a risk of slipping and falling. A DIY chimney sweep job might save you some money, but it comes with the price of potential severe injuries, such as a broken bone, organ damage, or head trauma. A hospital bill for an emergency room visit is going to cost several times more than what your annual chimney sweep costs.

Besides the financial cost alone, you risk serious or even life-threatening injuries from an unexpected fall. Rather than put yourself at risk of any injuries, avoid it altogether and hire a professional chimney sweep. An experienced company has employees with the training, knowledge, and equipment required to keep them safe on your roof. That way you can stay safely on the ground.

diagnosing chimney damageDiagnosing Structural Chimney Damage

During a DIY chimney cleaning job, you might miss a critical part of the job — inspecting your chimney for structural damage. Or, you might not know what to look for as you give your chimney a quick once-over.

Issues like a cracked flue, improperly functioning damper, and problems with the flashing can all lead to significant complications, including increasing your risk of a chimney fire. The problem is that many of these issues aren’t always readily apparent, at least not at first. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could miss a critical sign that puts your home and your family at risk.

Scheduling a Chimney Sweep? Contact Certified Chimney Sweep Professionals

As tempting as it can be to tackle cleaning your chimney yourself, this is one of the home maintenance tasks you should leave to the professionals. A highly qualified, highly experienced professional chimney sweep can ensure your chimney is clean, free of damage, and safe for use. Avoid increasing the risk of damage to your home, or harm to your family by skipping the dangerous DIY chimney sweep.

Are you looking for the best chimney sweep services in the western suburbs of Chicago? The CSIA and National Chimney Sweep Guild-certified professionals at Valley Chimney Sweep and Restoration are here to help.

Valley Chimney is a family-owned chimney service company that has served over 40,000 chimneys since its inception in 1978. Our clients are located in the far west suburbs of Chicago and receive quality services from our Certified Chimney Sweeps™.

We offer a wide range of professional chimney services. For well over 40 years, our primary company focus is to make residential chimneys safer to use. With constantly updated skills, techniques, and the latest equipment, our goal is to reduce chimney fire hazards and be your Chimney Sweep for Life.

Contact Valley Chimney Sweep and Restoration to schedule your chimney cleaning today!

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