• Chimney Safety Tips


    Before settling down in front of your cozy warm hearth please help keep you and your loved ones safe by following some basic steps for fire and carbon monoxide poisoning prevention.

    Carbon Monoxide Poisoning-----------Keep the "Silent Killer" at Bay!

    An overlooked heating system can produce death and heartbreak. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that can be fatal. The symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide are easily mistaken for those of the common cold, flu or exhaustion, which can interfere with a proper diagnosis. Be sure to see your physician about persistent, flu like symptoms: headaches, fatigue and nausea, chronic fatigue or generalized depression. The side-effects that can result from even low-level exposure can include permanent organ and brain damage. Infants and the elderly are more susceptible, as well as those with anemia or heart disease.

    Carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion, present whenever fuel is burned. It is produced by common household appliances such as gas or oil furnaces, clothes dryers, water heaters, ovens and ranges. A charcoal grill operating in an enclosed area, a fire burning in a fireplace or a car running in an attached garage also produce carbon monoxide.

    According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), carbon monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the U.S.A. Making sure furnaces and other potential carbon monoxide sources are properly vented and in good working condition, along with owning a UL listed carbon monoxide detector, could become a matter of life and death.

    What you can do:

    1. Have your chimney flues inspected annually as a regular part of your home maintenance schedule. The early detection and repair of broken or crumbling bricks, tiles, and debris in the flue will help ensure a safe environment for you and your family.

    2. Install a chimney cap/spark arrestor on the chimney to keep birds and other animals from nesting, as well as to prevent leaves and other debris from entering. The primary purpose of chimney flues and venting pipes is to funnel fumes out of the living area. Any type of blockage in the flue will prevent the chimney from drafting properly, thus allowing Carbon monoxide to leak back into your home undetected.

    3. Install a UL listed Carbon Monoxide detector in your home. Proper placement of a carbon monoxide detector is important. If you are installing only one carbon monoxide detector, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends it be located near the sleeping area, where it can wake you if you are asleep. Additional detectors on every level and in every bedroom of a home provides extra protection.

    CHIMNEY FIRES----------------------DON'T BECOME A STATISTIC!

    The buildup of creosote in your fireplace, wood stove and chimney is unavoidable. Creosote is a natural byproduct of the wood burning process. It is black or brown and can be crusty &flaky, tar-like, drippy & sticky or shiny & hardened. Creosote is a highly combustible residue and if it builds up and catches fire inside the chimney flue-the result will be a chimney fire. Any amount of creosote can burn, but if it has built up to sufficient quantities it can sustain a long, hot destructive chimney fire. During a chimney fire, the outside surface of the chimney can become hot enough to ignite surrounding walls, floor joists, rafters, insulation or roofing materials. Suddenly, you have a structural fire, which can burn the entire house down. Creosote and soot also reduce the draft and greatly obstruct the efficiency of your heating system.

    The following are ways that you can avoid a chimney fire:

    •             Use seasoned woods only

    •             Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke

    •             Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or Christmas trees

    •             Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures when using wood stoves

    •             Inspect and clean catalytic combustors on a regular basis

    •             Have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned as recommended.

  • This page is designed to help promote awareness and the importance of safety while you enjoy your fireplace. For further in-depth information, we strongly encourage you to go to The Chimney Safety Institute of America web site: www.csia.org. They are a non-profit educational institution dedicated to educating the public, as well as chimney service professionals and other fire prevention specialists about the prevention and correction of chimney and venting system hazards.