Why should I worry about air?
I bet you never thought your chimney sweep helped improve the quality of your air. Some of us might sometimes worry about the air outside, but we have organizations in place to analyze and alert us to the quality of the air outdoors, that way we can watch our level of physical activity and reduce trips in our vehicles. But what about the air inside your home? Don’t let your fireplace be the cause of poor air quality that can affect your health and well-being.
Fireplaces and chimneys can contribute to air quality problems in a few ways:
Wood smoke pollution is pretty self-explanatory—it’s when you get that pesky fire that smokes up your house instead of behaving so you can sit and relax. But smoke is more than just a pest—it can cause a lot of problems:
- Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that can cause cancer
- Fine particle pollution (ash) that damages lung tissue and creates respiratory problems
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides
Smoke spillage is produced by a number of things:
- Incomplete combustion of fuels
- Improper exhaust.
If your fireplace or woodstove is not properly exhausted, or there is blockage in your chimney, then smoke spillage enters your home. (This applies to both wood-burning fireplaces or gas log inserts.) You can erase these problems by having a pro install your fireplace insert or wood stove to ensure correct exhaust, and by staying on top of those annual cleanings.
Mold is another menace to your air. Chimneys are the perfect place for mold to grow and reproduce if they get damp. Mold causes all kinds of health problems, like sinus and respiratory problems, coughing, headaches, and eye and throat irritation. We’ve got a couple of solutions for mold—waterproofing and installing a chimney cap.
Preventive maintenance is always the key to any issue with your fireplace.
Get that chimney inspected and cleaned annually for the best and safest performance. The Chimney Safety Institute has our backs on this one – skipping that chimney sweep can cause a lot of problems later on. Give us a call if you’re concerned about your air quality and we’ll be on our way.