Review Our Business
Schedule an appointment TODAY!

Clean Sweeps of Michigan's Blog

Chimney Health Hazards You Should Know About

Many homeowners understand how a dirty chimney affects their fireplace. However, few realize it can also have an impact on your overall health. Creosote buildup, animal entry, and more are all chimney hazards. These hazards can affect the health and safety of your family and friends, as well as negatively affect your chimney system!

Chimney Health Hazards You Should Know About Image - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MichiganChimney Health Hazards

Fireplaces are meant to be enjoyed, but when not properly maintained they can pose a risk to our health.

The following are four of the most common chimney health hazards, their causes, and how to prevent them:

  1.  Creosote exposure.
    Creosote is a black, tarry substance that is created naturally as a byproduct of fuel burning fires. While present in small amounts in most fireplaces, flammable creosote becomes dangerous if allowed to accumulate without regular sweepings. In addition to increasing the risk of chimney fire, creosote can negatively affect your health. Skin and eye irritation, as well as respiratory issues, can be caused by exposure to creosote. While creosote may be present in the flue, exposure is often caused by homeowners attempting to improperly remove creosote themselves.
  2. Smoke and soot inhalation.
    Smoke and soot are a part of every fire. However, what happens if your chimney is not drafting properly? These byproducts of combustion can wind up affecting your home’s air supply. Smoke and soot inhalation can cause respiratory problems such as bronchitis, as well as aggravate long-term conditions such as asthma and allergies.
  3. Carbon monoxide.
    Carbon monoxide poisoning is a rare but serious health hazard that can occur from all fuel-burning appliances – not just fireplaces or stoves! If the venting system is damaged or the flue is blocked, poisoning carbon monoxide gas can back up into the home. It’s known as the “silent killer” because it is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Unfortunately, the presence of carbon monoxide gas can only be detected using special equipment. All homes should have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor, as well as outside sleeping areas. Exposure to carbon monoxide often mimics flu-like symptoms. These can include headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Consequently, prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to organ damage, coma, and even death.
  4. Animal entry.
    Birds, raccoons, squirrels, and other small animals love to take refuge in chimneys. In addition to causing damage to the chimney system, these wild animals also carry disease! The droppings of chimney swifts, for example, are known to cause histoplasmosis. Created by a fungus found in the droppings, histoplasmosis can cause chronic cough, chest pain, fever, loss of appetite, and more.

We Can Help Keep You Safe

While the health hazards that can occur with using your chimney should not be ignored, they should not stop you from enjoying your fireplace. Instead, regular cleaning and maintenance can keep your chimney system burning safely and efficiently for years to come. For more information on chimney health hazards, or to schedule your next fireplace maintenance, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

Now Is The Time To Get A Gas Fireplace!

Fireplaces are one of the most desirable features your home can have. In fact, according to the National Association of Homebuilders, fireplaces are the second most requested home feature for both buyers and builders. Having a functional, modern fireplace in your home can add value – as well as enjoyment for your family!

Whether you have a wood fireplace that is underutilized, want to add a heating feature to your home, or have an existing out-of-date gas fireplace, now is the perfect time to get a new gas fireplace.

Why choose gas?Now Is The Time To Get A Gas Fireplace Image - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of Michigan

While many homeowners associate fireplaces with burning wood, gas is an increasingly popular choice.

The following are five reasons to switch to a gas fireplace this summer:

  1. Increased efficiency.
    Gas fireplaces and inserts are the most efficient heating appliances on the market today. Most gas fireplaces burn with as much as 90% efficiency. This ensures that the gas being used is heating your home, not being lost up the chimney.
  2. Save time and space.
    Wood and pellet heating appliances require more upkeep than their gas counterparts. Switching to gas can reduce the amount of time spent cutting, stacking, and storing fuel and the space used to store wood and pellets.
  3. Decreased air pollution.
    Burning gas produces little to no smoke and emissions. Because of this, gas fireplaces are ideal for families with respiratory issues, such as allergies or asthma, that wood smoke may aggravate.
  4. Ease of use.
    Gas fireplaces are extremely easy to and can literally provide heat at the push of a button! This makes them ideal for busy families who want to enjoy their fireplace whenever possible, even if for just a few minutes at a time.
  5. Choices in styles.
    There is no one size or style for gas fireplaces. Instead, homeowners can pick from styles ranging from the traditional to the ultra-modern. It is even possible to customize the “wood” of the gas logs in the fireplace!

Types of gas fireplaces.

There are three main types of gas fireplaces. The type of gas fireplace you choose often depends on factors such as heating needs or the presence of any existing fireplaces. The following is a brief explanation of the pros and cons of the three types of gas fireplaces.

  • Vented.
    Vented gas fireplaces use existing chimneys to vent and draw in outside air. These fireplaces are often used when a fireplace is converted from wood to gas. However, the chimney may need to be relined if the fuel source is changed.
  • Direct vent.
    Direct vent gas fireplaces use a small, two way pipe to vent directly to the outside of your home. Since the chance for carbon monoxide or gas buildup is virtually eliminated, they are extremely safe. Many direct vent fireplaces need to be installed directly on an exterior wall.
  • Vent free.
    Vent free gas fireplaces do not require any outside venting. This allows them to be installed and used virtually anywhere in your home. Manufacturer’s instructions for use should be carefully followed to prevent a negative impact on air quality.

Don’t wait until fall to start thinking about a new gas fireplace. Contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today for more information on installing a new gas fireplace in your home!

Recent Posts

Find Posts About