Last month we featured CSIA Director of Education Ashley Eldridge, speaking to a syndicated real estate radio show, urging caution to those do-it-yourself folks who were curious about tackling their fireplace and chimney to save a few dollars.

“Unless someone is willing to get on the roof and risk ‘dusting’ their house just about every part of it is better left to a professional. And frankly the mechanical act of sweeping of the chimney is not as difficult as the intellectual exercise of inspecting it. That’s where you really need a professional.”

And a blogger wrote about the benefits and drawbacks of inspecting your own chimney. He wrote, “It is nice to know (and the time is rapidly coming) that if I need a chimney sweep all I need do is log onto a web site and enter my ZIP code to find a professional sweep in my area … Many thanks to Chimney (Safety) Institute of America for advising me that there is a certification process and the benefits of hiring a professional chimney sweep.”

We’ll repeat that mantra: When it comes to your chimney, we at the Chimney Safety Institute of America say D-D-I-Y: Don’t Do It Yourself. Try typing in your zip code into our free locator on

Yes, if that Honey Do List you’ve been waiting to tackle during your days off during the last two months of the year includes cleaning your fireplace or chimney, here’s a suggestion to call in a professional.

Here are the kinds of jobs that no “do-it-yourself chimney sweep” is qualified to perform.

“I’ll just run a brush up that chimney myself:”A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep uses a unique combination of hi-tech tools and well-trained eyes to spot even the finest layers of creosote that can build up on your chimney walls. Even the thinnest layers of this very combustible glaze can lead to a potential chimney fire, risking your home and lives.

“I can just patch that crack with some spackling:” When it comes to your flue liner or the walls of your chimney, cracks can allow for the release carbon monoxide into your living space, not to mention the myriad of other potential risks they pose. A qualified professional is needed to both identify and seal up chimney wall cracks or repair flue liners to ensure your system is working properly and keeping your family safe.

“I don’t need to clean my chimney, I burn gas logs:” Natural gas logs burn clean, but they aren’t risk-free. Skipping on an annual inspection because you assume your home setup is foolproof can spell disaster. A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep can identify risks posed by improper installation, venting malfunctions or other potentially dangerous circumstances.

“I’ll set a ‘controlled burn’ to strip creosote from my chimney walls:”Do we really need to go into detail on this one? A chimney fire, in any form, leads to increased cracking of your chimney walls and can displace mortar used in the structure, which provides a direct pathway for flames to reach the wood frame of your house.

If you have any questions, call our office at 317-837-5362. Our information is free!