Fireplace & chimney safety

Fireplace

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal)  We all love a cozy fire, but they can be deadly.  Eric Lipkin is the Owner of Pillar To Post- Home Inspection shared tips with us.

Why is fireplace safety so important?

Every year about 25,000 chimney fires occur in the US which causes $120 million dollars of damage and causing thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths.

How do you know if a chimney fire is happening?

There are basically two types of chimney fires. Free burning fires often sound loud like a freight train and may have flames or heavy smoke shooting out of the top of the chimney. The second type are slow burning fires. This quieter version of a chimney fire is no less dangerous. You may not even know it has taken place. These undetected fires burn slowly and at high temperatures that can cause more than just structural damage to your chimney, they can easily catch flammable parts of your home on fire as well. Often evidence of these slow burning fires are only detected with an inspection.

How can you prevent chimney fires?

The most important thing is to have annual chimney cleanings and inspections done by a CSIA certified chimney contractor. They can remove built up creosote which can ignite a fire.

Other things you can do include:

  • Installing a metal rain and critter cap at the top of the chimney
  • Burn only seasoned hard wood ( it produces less creosote), don’t overload wood in your fireplace to help reduce excess smoke/ creosote
  • Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling, rather than flammable liquids to start the fire
  • Use a spark guard to prevent errant embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. A guard in front of an open flame is especially important when the room is unoccupied
  • Consider cracking a window in the home to help with updraft/ venting.