Seven Secrets for Safe Chimneys
FAIRFIELD, Iowa – All homeowners should be wary of the dangers that can lurk within a seemingly functional, sound chimney. Bob Daniels, otherwise known as Sooty Bob, is a 30 year veteran in the chimney service industry helping homeowners understand the safety concerns and maintenance requirements of fireplaces and chimneys.
"The chimney is the most overlooked item on a home safety checklist," warns Bob. "Chimneys may appear fine from the exterior but be damaged extensively on the interior, which can lead to a very dangerous situation such as a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning."
In order to help ensure the safety of the home, Sooty Bob offers residents seven "secrets:"
- Your Home Has Lots of Chimneys - They All Pose Risks: all vents to the exterior of the home are chimneys and at the least should be professionally inspected on a yearly basis.
- Chimneys Should Have an Annual Check-Up: schedule an annual visit with a chimney service professional to inspect all chimneys. This will keep you informed of their condition and help ensure they remain clean, operable and free of blockages.
- Burn Only Seasoned Hardwoods: these woods burn the longest, produce the most heat and leave behind the least creosote. Creosote, a highly flammable substance, can build up on chimney walls, increasing the risk of a chimney fire.
- Burn Small, Hot Fires - Not Long, Cool, Smoky Ones: smaller, hotter fires drive creosote up the chimney and away from the home.
- It's Not Just the Stuff That Goes UP Your Chimney That Can Cause Problems: debris such as animal nests (or even lint, in the case of a dryer vent), can cause a back-up of harmful gasses in the home. Additionally, water seeping into a chimney can erode bricks and mortar and compromise its structural integrity. Solution: put a cap on your chimney to prevent rain and animals from entering, and schedule an annual inspection to ensure all chimneys remain free from blockages.
- Beware of Warm Winters: warm winters can lead to increased creosote buildup because long, cool, smoky fires are more common. However, homeowners may feel complacent about having an annual inspection since they didn't use the fireplace often.
- Fireplace Screens, Toolsets and Hoods Aren't Just For Show: fire is dangerous and every family needs to take precautions to protect themselves and their homes. Be sure to always:
- use a spark screen in front of your fireplace;
- use a metal container to remove fireplace ashes;
- install working smoke alarms on every level of your home;
- install a working carbon monoxide detector in your home;
- replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a year;
- ensure proper floor and wall protection with gas and wood burning appliances;
- keep several multi-purpose fire extinguishers in the home;
- establish a family fire escape plan, and;
- hold regular family fire drills.
For more information about HomeSaver, Inc., please visit www.homesaver.com or call (866) HOMESAVER (866-466-3728).