Standing in the self-checkout line, I do what we all do…listen to conversations going on around us. Sometimes it’s worth staying tuned-in, like yesterday.
A person standing in back of me waiting in line decided to make a call. It became obvious that she was having a hard time making a decision and was searching for a reason to choose one way or the other. Of course, I stayed tuned in as the subject was about their fireplace and chimney.
The debate was about spending the money to get the chimney cleaned. The conversation was clear that neither party knew the right information in order to make a good decision. I wondered…have I been clear as to why a chimney sweep is important? Have I shared the safety and risks? If not, here we go.
CSIA & NFPA
Chimney clean and check are recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regardless if you use your chimney or not, if you have a real wood fireplace or a gas fireplace. They state that every year thousands of house fires are caused by the lack of cleaning and maintaining the fireplace and chimney.
Here are 2 high risk areas that are often discussed, but not everyone knows what it is or why is it important.
Creosote: What is it? What’s the Risk?
Creosote is a black, tar-like substance that builds up each time the fireplace is lit. Creosote is a highly flammable material and if a hot spark ignites the creosote substance, the intense heat builds and enters the home creating a hazardous situation and/or fire. Fire can start with as little as 1/8” to ¼” buildup.
Air Flow: What are the Risks? How do I know?
Air flow is important as the smoke or combustion materials need a place to go. If there is an obstruction, the smoke needs to go somewhere. If it’s not up and out, the only other option is in your home. Typical obstructions are animals, nests, heavy creosote buildup, debris from the chimney or from the outside.
While the weather is deceivingly warm this week, use it as an opportunity to get your fireplace cleaned and checked. Then when you begin to put your Halloween, Thanksgiving and Holiday decorations around the fireplace, you know you’re doing it safely for your family and yourself.