Most homeowners who own a home with a fireplace don't need professional help to build a fire. Maintaining the fireplace and chimney, however, is best left to the experts, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If you've forgone an annual chimney inspection, consider these famous "last words" by do-it-yourself chimney sweeps.
"I've swept my own chimney for 25 years and we've been fine."
Many homeowners don't realize that a very thin, combustible layer of glazed creosote can build up over time. A qualified professional, such as those certified by the CSIA, has the knowledge to identify and the tools needed to remove this dangerous byproduct.
"That crack has been there for years! It'll be okay."
When a flue liner is cracked, these cracks open during the heating phase and may allow heat to be transferred to vulnerable chimney walls. One of the important functions of the flue lining is to serve as an insulator between the hot flue gases and the chimney wall.
"I heat with gas. I don't need to have my chimney swept."
Qualified professionals do so much more than simply run a brush up the flue. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep will identify and help address operational inefficiencies, installation or venting issues and provide needed maintenance.
"If I start a chimney fire, I'll burn out all of the creosote."
Chimney fires are no casual manner. Chimney fires can melt mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage the outer masonry material. Most often, tiles crack and mortar is displaced, which provides a pathway for flames to reach the wood frame of the house. One chimney fire may not harm a home, but a second can burn it down.