The Dirty Truth: What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Chimney?

June 19, 2023
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what happens if you don't clean your chimney

Chimneys have a huge role to play in keeping the comfort level high during winter. They take all the smoke and ash produced by burning wood in the fireplace and release them outside. To ensure your house remains clean and safe, you have to clean your chimneys regularly.

So, what happens if you don’t clean your chimney? First, your home will be at a huge risk of catching fire due to creosote buildup. Next, it will be full of ash and smoke, which will not only make the house unclean but also unhealthy. Unclean chimneys also don’t last long, since they suffer from moisture damage. Finally, if you don’t clean your chimneys regularly, both the airflow and air quality will go down significantly. 

Let’s dive deeper and take a look at the effects of not cleaning chimneys.

How bad is it to not clean your chimney?

During winter, sitting before a burning fireplace and spending time with the family is one of the most enjoyable things to do. Chimneys play a vital role in ensuring and maintaining the comfort level by taking all the smoke and ash produced from the fireplace to the outside. But chimneys can only work properly if they are cleaned regularly. 

To know why chimney cleaning is so important, you have to know what will happen if you don’t clean your chimneys. Here are the effects of an unclean chimney.

1. Fire Hazard

fire hazard for uncleaned chimney

When you burn wood in your fireplace, it doesn’t only produce smoke and ash. Burning wood also produces creosote, which, unlike ash and smoke, is deposited on the inside walls of the chimney. This creosote is a highly flammable substance, and since the temperature inside the chimney can get super high, it can catch fire easily. This is a serious fire hazard, and most chimney-related fires are caused by this.

So, can a dirty chimney cause a fire? Yes, it most certainly can. 

2. Structural Damage

structural damage to your chimney

The creosote inside your chimneys won’t only cause a fire in your home. This substance also plays a big part in causing structural damage to your chimney. It makes the chimney wall weaker by damaging the lining.

Also, keeping your chimney unclean prevents you from inspecting it regularly. So, if your chimney has moisture damage, you won’t be able to detect it quickly enough. This will also result in your chimney being damaged.

3. Reduced Airflow

Chimneys that are not cleaned regularly, get blocked by various debris falling in from the outside, birds and other animals nesting inside, etc. As a result, the air inside your home can’t flow properly, reducing the airflow inside it. If you feel your home doesn’t have as much airflow as before, it is one of the telltale signs you need to clean your chimney. 

4. Worse air quality 

As the chimney is blocked, the air inside your home can’t move about freely. The ash, smoke, the smell from the debris inside the chimney, everything makes the air quality inside the house much worse than before. The air is unsafe to breathe in due to the smoke and ash and contains a lot of germs from the debris. 

Also, the air inside your house gets increasingly dirty, which causes your home, especially the area around the fireplace to be always dirty. No matter how many times you clean your home, having an unclean chimney will mean that you will never be truly able to keep your home clean. 

5. Energy inefficiency

energy inefficiency for unclean chimney

One of the most severe effects of unclean chimneys is the energy inefficiency of your home. Since the air doesn’t move freely inside your home, the heating units can’t function properly. The blockages hinder the efficiency of the HVAC units, which causes them to work harder. As a result, they consume more energy than before, increasing their energy bills and their carbon footprint. This makes your home a high-energy inefficient one. 

Final Words

One of the most common questions we face when talking with potential clients, especially those who are new homeowners, is ‘What happens if you don’t clean your chimney?’. Once you go through the effects of the unclean chimney, you should book our expert chimney cleaning services to get your chimney cleaned ASAP.


How long does cleaning a chimney take?

Compared to other cleaning procedures, chimney cleaning is a quick one. Depending on factors such as the scope of work, the condition of the chimney, etc, chimney cleaning can take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours. 

What are the steps of chimney cleaning?

Chimney sweeping has a few steps that must be followed for proper cleaning of your chimney. These are:
Visual Inspection
Cleaning the fireplace
Cleaning the chimney from both inside and outside
Repairing any damages
Cleaning up the mess

Is chimney repair a part of the chimney cleaning service?

Most chimney cleaning Los Angeles CA companies that provide chimney cleaning services include chimney repair as a part of their services. But it is better to research and consult with the service provider of your choice to see if they also provide chimney repair services. 

How often should you clean your chimney?

The standard time for cleaning your chimneys is every spring or fall. So, you need to clean your chimney once per year, at least.

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