Inspecting and Cleaning Your Chimney is Not a DIY Job

chimney sweep Plainfield IL

Late in 2016 the professional organization that leads the chimney and dryer vent maintenance education industry, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, was successful in forcing Angie’s List to remove an article from its website that instructed homeowners they can inspect and clean their own chimneys.

Rightfully so, the CSIA fought hard to have this misleading and dangerous article written by someone who is not a chimney sweep removed. In a letter to Angie’s List, CSIA’s president said the article titled “How to Clean Your Chimney,” provided homeowners with a false sense that cleaning their own chimneys is a wise idea.

This is is in direct conflict with the National Fire Protection Association, which states chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected and cleaned annually by a “qualified agency.”

“Encouraging the average homeowner, who does not meet the NFPA’s definition of a “qualified agency”, to perform his or her own chimney service, while providing them a false sense of security that their “chimney is ready for those cold winter nights,” if they follow the author’s instructions, is not only irresponsible and negligent, but could lead directly to the loss of life or property due to a chimney fire or carbon monoxide intrusion into the residence,” the CSIA wrote to Angie’s List.

Why DIY chimney cleaning and repair is dangerous

DIY chimney inspection and cleaning is a really bad idea for several reasons. The first and most important is that there is virtually no room for error. Certified chimney sweeps like the crew at Chicago’s highly rated Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration are highly trained to spot even the smallest threat to your chimney’s safe operation.

There are 21,000 chimney fires in the U.S. annually, and they are ignited for several different reasons. The biggest causes are the build up of soot and creosote. While the average homeowner may be able to spot soot or creosote, clearing the chimney to allow for maximum safety is another matter.

Certified chimney sweeps possess the tools and know-how to be able to clean your entire chimney and fireplace of accelerants that can lead to a catastrophic chimney fire. Further, chimney sweeps know what to look for when it comes to damaged chimney liners, which is another huge risk factor in chimney fires.  Properly repairing or replacing a damaged chimney liner should be done by a professional with years of experience — not by someone who watched a Youtube video on the subject.

Finally, a certified chimney sweep can also identify and repair damage to your chimney’s structure. An average homeowner may be able to spot structure deficiencies in their chimney, but are they knowledgeable enough when it comes to tuckpointing and the painstaking process that goes in to doing the job right?

In short, there is no shortcut when it comes to the safe use of your fireplace and chimney. Attempting to “do it yourself” is a fool’s errand best left to the professionals in an annual basis. For the very best in chimney sweep and restoration services in Chicago’s western suburbs, contact Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration today. 


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“Great service and great quality workmanship.  Have used them for the last 10 years and have always been pleased.  Never been up sold or told that my chimney requires extensive repair.  Utilized another chimney service provider and by the end of the appointment they made me feel that I needed a completely new fireplace after only having the house built for two years.  Valley Chimney has never done that and has always taken care of my fire place.  Would highly recommend.”

‐ Johnathan P.

Chicago, IL

8940 D Route 34
Yorkville, IL 60560

(630) 553-5995

Service over 40,000 clients across the western suburbs of Chicago