Top 5 Practical Tips on How to Keep Your Chimney Safe

Living where chimneys have become a basic commodity for every home, it is critical that they are kept in perfect working condition. Largely because chimneys can get to a very harsh condition, overtime it takes a toll on their performance, consequently putting the safety of everyone at risk at the very least. Unsafe chimneys can cause serious risks and hazards to people and properties ranging from fire to carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to recent statistics obtained from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, chimney fires alone, estimated at 25,100 a year cause the loss of about $125 million of damaged properties and 30 deaths on average. On the other hand, carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of poisoning death claiming over 500 lives every year in the US. Proper Maintenance: Largely for this reason, a regular chimney inspection by a professional plays a critical role. Inspection is common once a year but for chimneys used more often, regular check-ups done more often than that. Also, the belief that unused chimneys during off-season are ready to go is definitely a wrong notion.

Many factors that can lead to unsafe chimneys happen during off-season. The yearly inspection does not only find your chimney condition but also to give repairs when needed. Employing the services of a certified professional will give you a credible evaluation in keeping with safety standards. Normally, a certified chimney sweep looks out for note cracks, creosote blockage, and other damages which could affect your chimney and pose great risk once undetected or ignored.

The excessive build-up of the highly combustible creosote, for instance, is responsible for many chimney fire incidents. Also, depending on the situation, a professional sweep may find out that the chimney pipe has become unsafe overtime from normal wear and tear and might need correctly aligned. Or maybe the chimney cap has disappeared or worn out. Or the flue is badly damaged or wrongly fitted.

Whatever the problem is, each situation varies and calls for its own solution. You can do this: While only a trained person can deal with and correct complicated and hidden chimney conditions, there are instances where you can do more than a few things to help keep your chimney safe between the yearly professional visits.

1. A dirty chimney is susceptible to fire. Make sure that your chimney is clean. Remove soot often especially if deposits are 1/8 inch or beyond. You might want to invest in certain types of equipment in cleaning your chimney flue for a more efficient cleaning with a vacuum or long-handled brushes.

2. Be discriminate in choosing your wood. Use seasoned woods only since dry woods burn efficiently and creates less smoke. Chimney grates are great help not only for efficient burning but also for safety purposes as they keep logs in place.

3. Avoid restricting the air supply through closed glass doors or by not opening the damper wide enough for heated smoke to move up the chimney. It also helps if you have smaller but hotter fire instead of large but cooler fires. Never burn trash like cardboard boxes, etc as these can only trigger chimney fire.

4. Monitor flue temperature if using wood stoves by installing stovepipe thermometers.

5. Check for loose debris and animal nests that managed to get in your chimney during off-season. Most people wait until fall to have their chimneys cleaned and inspected.

However, the best time to schedule chimney cleaning is during spring or summer months for several reasons. For one thing off-season discounts are a plus. Also, during these times you can avoid scheduling backups which usually happen during the fall.

Don’t let fireplaces or chimneys give you more “heat” than you actually need. Remember, the loss of properties can be redeemed but once lives are lost, they are forever gone. Prevention is still and always will be the best way to keep your chimney and everyone safe. To learn more about keeping your family and your chimney safe please click the links in the author resource box below.

Donna J. Seymour