CHIMNEY FIRES AND CHIMNEY SWEEPS
Chimney fires can be a frightening and sometimes destructive experience. A chimney fire is also something that does not have to occur if you take the right precautions. Here are some ways to avoid them:
- Use only seasoned, dry wood to build fires in your fireplace or wood stove.
- Build smaller, hotter fires which burn more completely and produce less smoke.
- Give your fire a generous air supply.
- NEVER burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash, or Christmas trees in your fireplace or wood stove.
- Consult the stove manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use of your woodstove.
- Have your chimney cleaned annually by a professional chimney sweep.
If you plan to hire a chimney sweep to inspect or clean your chimney, or to perform any repairs or improvements, here is a checklist of things you should know about the person or company before you hire them:
- Is he or she a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep? This means they have successfully passed a certificate examination and will have a photo ID badge.
- Does the company or individual carry a valid business insurance policy to protect your home and furnishings against accidents?
- How long has the company been in business?
- Does the company offer current references? Don’t hesitate to check them.
- Does the company have unresolved complaints filed with the state consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau?
For further information on chimney safety, including locating a certified chimney sweep in our area, the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website is a good resource.