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Why Is It Unsafe to Clean My Own Chimney?

In today’s world of DIY instructional videos, people are trying to complete more and more projects around the house without professional help. This goes for everything from bathroom renovations to siding installations to advanced lawn care. It’s not just that people are trying to save cash — although that’s a big part of it — it’s also that many people enjoy the process of doing things on their own, and taking pleasure in the final results.

Given this general environment, and the free availability of endless instructional content on YouTube and other online sources, you might be wondering if it’s really necessary to hire a professional for to clean your chimney. Is this another thing you can tackle on your own, saving money and enjoying the satisfaction of a job well done?

The answer here is different from other projects. In terms of cleaning your chimney, it’s virtually never a good idea to do the job yourself — unless you’re trained and experienced, and have all the right tools.

Why is this?

The main thing you’re doing when you clean the chimney is removing the buildup of creosote, which is the leading cause of harmful chimney fires. There are products that allow you to remove a certain amount of this material yourself — but will you really know if you’ve done a good job? What about the various hard to reach areas high up in the chimney?

There are other important questions that need to be asked as well. For example — when a professional chimney specialist performs routine maintenance at your property, they’re also checking for signs of wear and tear (or even serious faults) that need to be addressed in order to keep your chimney safe. These experts are voiced in local building codes, and have years of experience dealing with chimneys of all types. You can rest assured that if there are any serious problems with your chimney, or any potential fire hazards, you’re going to know about them — and they’re going to be addressed properly!

When you consider the fact that a maintenance visit from a professional usually costs between $100-200, it seems like a no brainer to set aside the DIY impulse in this case, and bring in a professional to make sure your chimney is in perfect working order throughout he year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, homeowners should have their chimneys professionally cleaned and checked at least once every calendar year.

A professional you can trust

Chimney maintenance specialists incur the technical risks of cleaning your chimney so you don’t have to — but it’s important to find an experienced professional you can trust. Finding a licensed and insured contractor is absolutely essential in order to protect yourself as a homeowner. You also need a contractor who is going to give your chimney a thorough and complete cleaning, and check for any repairs or faults that need to be addressed. Inadequate chimney maintenance poses a direct risk to the safety of your home and family — so choose a professional with a solid track record and make sure to get your questions answered!