When it comes to your chimney, we at the Chimney Safety Institute of America say D-D-I-Y: Don’t Do It Yourself.

If that Honey Do List you’ve been waiting to tackle during your days off this holiday week includes cleaning your fireplace or chimney, here’s your pass to pick up the phone instead.

And don’t take our word for it, the National Fire Protection Association joins us in recommending that homeowners call a qualified professional to address your chimney cleaning and/or repair needs.

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.

Finally, we want to wish you all a happy holiday! Express your thanks for a safe and healthy family by hiring a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep to inspect your chimney this season.