Three Common Fireplace Safety Mistakes
A fireplace is an asset that increases the value of any home, but it’s important for homeowners to recognize potential hazards that exist. Before using your fireplace again, check out the common errors below, to be sure you aren’t putting your family and property at risk:
1 – Lack of Chimney Maintenance
Fifty-five percent of the house fires started by heating equipment in 2009 were caused by using a fireplace that was not maintained or cleaned properly. Many homeowners don’t realize that the fire in a fireplace causes a big mess in the chimney flue. Deposits of creosote are left behind every time a fire is burned. If the creosote is not removed, layer upon layer builds up until the highly flammable material becomes a lot easier to ignite with a spark from a fire.
Chimney fires are extremely dangerous. They are intensely hot. One chimney fire can damage the chimney lining as well as chimney masonry. If the lining isn’t repaired and the chimney isn’t cleaned, there is a very real danger that a chimney fire will cause the house to catch fire, as combustible materials are exposed to the hot fire in the chimney. A chimney fire can also cause the roof to catch fire. Because chimney fires are incredibly intense, if the house catches fire, it burns down very quickly, leaving the occupants very little time to escape safely.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), chimneys and fireplaces should be inspected at least once every year.
2 – Hiring Unskilled Chimney Technicians
Scams which target homeowners with fireplaces are not uncommon. In fact, homeowners have been periodically advised by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation to be cautious about scams related to chimney repair and cleaning. Unscrupulous people often take advantage of the unregulated industry of chimney maintenance. What the scam artists typically do is either call or go door-to-door offering can’t-miss discounts on chimney cleaning and repair.
It can be very dangerous to allow someone with ill intentions into your home and especially to take charge of your chimney care, which is an important safety issue. You could be letting a potential burglar into your home, but a lot more than burglary could go wrong. It’s possible that you will pay for chimney cleaning, but the cleaning isn’t done. You could also be advised that an expensive repair is needed; but the frauds may take the money and run or simply go through the motions of doing the bogus repairs.
Trained professionals have the right equipment, know how to use it, and understand how a chimney works; they ensure that you can safely use your fireplace. Untrained scam artists provide no guarantees that your fireplace is safe to use.
Hire a chimney sweep:
With a good reputation in the community and an established business; and
3 – Failing to Install Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Most people know the importance of keeping operational smoke detectors in the home, particularly when you have a fireplace. It is equally as important, if not more so, to install carbon monoxide detectors. A fireplace puts your home at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning; this typically occurs if the chimney becomes obstructed, causing gases to enter the home. This is a silent killer that can’t be detected until there is a manifestation of dangerous physical reactions; carbon monoxide is invisible and can’t be smelled or tasted. By installing a carbon monoxide detector, you are protecting your family from the very real threat of deadly poisoning.
Our professional chimney sweeps can provide an accurate assessment of the condition of your chimney and help you avoid costly mistakes when using your fireplace.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004