Health Risks Associated with Neglected Chimneys

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Health Risks Associated with Neglected Chimneys

Your home is a refuge from the outside world, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe, especially if precautions are not taken in regard to chimney safety. Neglected chimneys can be a serious hazard, and should always be properly maintained prior to use. Here’s a quick look at some of the associated health risks of neglected chimneys that Rochester homeowners should be aware of.

Health Risks Associated with Neglected Chimneys

When you burn a fire, smoke is produced, which is supposed to go up a chimney. But when a chimney isn’t maintained properly, the smoke can back up, causing issues with indoor air quality, potential for carbon monoxide poisoning, and risk of fire. Let’s look at each of these risks in detail.

Indoor Air Quality

A poorly-maintained chimney allows soot, ash, and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, to enter your home instead of leaving the home through the chimney. This can exacerbate conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and other respiratory conditions, as well as cause aggravation to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless gas produced when fuel is burned. A chimney that isn’t operating properly can cause this gas to enter your home instead of leaving through the chimney, creating serious risk of suffocation. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headache, nausea, and sleepiness, and can lead to death.


A neglected chimney can also be a fire hazard. When fires burn, creosote is released, especially when you burn softwood, green wood, or allow a fire to burn coolly. This compound builds up on the inside of your chimney, creating a coating that is cleared away by cleaning. But when cleaning is neglected, the creosote build up and catches fire, leading to a chimney and then house fire.

By addressing the issues that are involved in potential health risks from neglected chimneys, Rochester homeowners can protect their health while being able to enjoy a well-maintained fireplace. If you’re ready to address the issues associated with your neglected chimney, the experienced professionals at Four Winds Chimney in Rochester offer unmatched chimney maintenance services and are ready to help. Please feel free to reach out to our friendly team today with any questions or concerns.


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