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Problems Caused by a Blocked Chimney


If you have a home or a condominium, it seems like there is always something that needs to be fixed or some type of maintenance that has to be performed. Like most people when the weekend rolls around youíve got a lot to do or youíre so tired from your week, you just want to put your feet up and relax.

While some jobs can be put off until you have more time, cleaning your chimney isnít one of them. Over time a chimney can get clogged up with tree branches, debris, animals and creosote buildup. Creosote also known as soot is the tar residue that is a byproduct of the wood burnt in your fireplace that sticks to the walls of the chimney.

When a chimney gets blocked, fire is the common and most dangerous hazard.  Creosote is highly flammable and can explode in the chimney causing a chimney fire.  If the fire doesn't burn the house down, it will probably destroy your chimney.  Itís important to evacuate your house immediately and call the fire department if you suspect a chimney fire.

The next present danger of a blocked chimney is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide gas poisoning is very dangerous because it is invisible, odorless, and tasteless. A blocked chimney forces carbon monoxide to evacuate into your home. Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, severe headaches, dizziness, chest or stomach pains, not being able to breathe, and vomiting. Special detectors can be installed which will warn you of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the home. According to, carbon monoxide poisoning clauses the deaths of 4,000 lives a year in the U.S., with a significant proportion of these deaths attributed to poorly maintained chimneys. In addition, about 10,000 people have become ill due to lower level exposure.

Other gases may be released into the home because your chimney is blocked. If you notice a smoky smell when you light a fire or if members of your family fall ill or show signs of toxic poisoning without any probable cause, you should have your chimney inspected right away.

A major consequence of a blocked chimney is the premature failing of a chimney and fireplace. Chimney fires can damage the mortar jointsí causing cracks in the chimney and flue which may lead to the collapse of the entire structure.

An annual chimney and flue inspection by a qualified professional can prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home and chimney fires from erupting. They can also help you identify and address other issues with your chimney and fireplace before they get out of control. American Fireplace highly recommends 1-2 chimney cleanings per year depending on the frequency of use of your fireplace and chimney. Give us a call at 1-855-497-2446, we are American Fireplace, your Houston fireplace and chimney experts.

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