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Air Quality & Your Chimney

What on earth could a chimney sweep have to say about air quality?

OK, so that’s probably not a question you ever thought to ask, but let’s just pretend you did—you know for giggles and all that. Because (believe it or not) we’ve actually got a lot to say about air quality. In fact, that’s one of the most important things we do for our customers—making your home a safer place to live and breathe.

So, you’ve probably put two and two together by now—if I, a humble chimney sweep, have something to say about air quality, then…that probably means the chimney is involved somehow. And that’s why we love our customers, because you’re smarter than the rest. (Yeah, we mean you.)

Poor indoor air quality can lead to all sorts of health problems. Call us now and we'll make sure you'll be breathing clean and safe air in your home.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to all sorts of health problems. Call us now and we’ll make sure you’ll be breathing clean and safe air in your home.

Here are some of the ways fireplaces and chimneys can contribute to air quality problems:

Wood smoke pollution – Yep, you got it – that’s when things get smoky. And it’s not just annoying to have smoke in your eyes. Wood smoke contains:

  • 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

So what causes the smoke to go down instead of up?

  • Incomplete combustion of fuels
  • Drafts
  • Improper exhaust

Make sure that you burn dry, seasoned wood. Otherwise, it won’t burn at high enough temperatures to combust properly, which is one of the things that make a fire smokier. Drafts that blow down your chimney can create a problem too. Also, any fireplace or woodstove that isn’t properly exhausted is going to be a problem. This is why it’s really important to have a pro install your fireplace insert or woodstove.

We can’t always point the finger at the chimney when the situation gets smoky. There are plenty of things around the home that can be pulling air, making it impossible for your chimney to do its job. Try turning off exhaust fans (like the one above the stove or in the bathroom), as well as dryers or other appliances that take air. Opening a window or door can also help out if you have a newer home. Newer homes are built for efficiency, so they’re usually sealed pretty tightly, making it a challenge when you need some airflow in your home.

Mold pollution is another enemy of air quality, and this problem goes beyond just your chimney. Air ducts and chimneys can both be the perfect place for mold to grow and reproduce. 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 your chimney and having your air ducts cleaned.

Never forget that good old saying about prevention.

Give us a call to talk about ways we can help you improve the quality of the air in your home.