Hazards of Dirty Chimneys

Hazards of Dirty Chimneys

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends having your chimney inspected annually to make sure it is free from damage and debris that can be hazardous to your family. While fireplaces are a great way to keep your families warm when the Minneapolis winters become chilly outside, but poorly maintained chimneys present a real danger to your family. Below is a list of problems that dirty chimneys create:


When wood burns in your fireplace it sometimes fails to burn entirely and an oily black substance called creosote can build up inside the chimney and can cause serious health issues that include:
Abdominal Problems- If creosote particles make their way into your system they can irritate and cause damage to your kidneys and liver.


Prolonged exposure of creosote on the skin can cause skin cancer.
Eye Problems- If your eyes come in contact with creosote it can cause severe eye irritation, light sensitivity, and chemical burns.
Mental Problems- Prolonged exposure to creosote can cause some individuals to become confused and can also cause seizures.
Respiratory Problems- If you inhale creosote particles they can accumulate in your lungs leading to respiratory problems.
Skin Problems- If your skin comes in contact with creosote it can cause rashes and other skin irritations.

Chimney Soot

When the wood in your fireplace does not burn hot enough to result in complete combustion, chimney soot will occur. Chimney soot is a black or brown substance that resembles dust and can build up and stick to the inside of your chimney causing severe health issues that include:
Lung Problems- Inhaled chimney soot can cause lung irritation and disease.
Respiratory Problems- Inhaled chimney soot can cause severe respiratory infections.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

When there is a lack of oxygen combustion cannot be completed, and carbon monoxide occurs. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is extremely dangerous and hard to detect. Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause the following serious health issues:


Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause illness including fatigue, nausea, confusion, and headaches.
Organ Problems- Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause severe damage to your internal organs including the heart and brain.
Death- Exposure to large amounts of carbon monoxide for a prolonged time can result in death.


If you have chimney swifts using your chimney as their home, they have to potential to cause health problems for you and your family. Chimney swift droppings may contain Histoplasmosis which is a respiratory infection caused by a fungus. The symptoms of Histoplasmosis include:

A cough

Histoplasmosis can cause chronic coughing.

Chest Pain

Histoplasmosis can cause chest pain, so it is essential to inform your doctor if you are having chest pain that you have chimney swifts in your home.

Flu-like Symptoms

Histoplasmosis can cause symptoms that mimic the flu and include fever, sweats, and the chills.

Weight Loss

Histoplasmosis can cause individuals to have a loss of appetite that can lead to weight loss.

At Chimney Sweep Minneapolis we know and understand the dangers of dirty chimneys. Our highly trained and skilled professionals are available for free onsite estimates and can check your chimney for you and let you know if it is safe or not. Please contact Chimney Sweep Minneapolis at (952) 234-8777 and schedule an appointment today or visit our website at www.chimneysweepminnesota.com.