Chimney FireWith all of the fires going on around the country this year, fireplace safety should be top of mind. Fireplaces can be a great source of heat, but you need to make sure to do it safely. With a seemingly record number of fires that we’ve seen and have reported on through our social outlets, it seems like now is more crucial than ever to practice fireplace safety.

Annual Inspections

Make sure you have your chimney inspected annually by a professional.  When we inspect your chimney, we look for creosote, which is a black, oily substance that builds up on the walls of your chimney and is extremely flammable.  Because of this build up, there is a tremendous risk of combustion and is often the result of house fires.

Chimney Cleaning (Chimney Sweeping)

If there is enough creosote built up, you need to get the chimney professionally cleaned.  When you have a professional do it, we use specialized tools that allow us to get all of the mess out of the chimney, and stay out of your home.  If you try and do it with a vacuum or another do it yourself remedy, you’ll often find a bigger mess in your living room than you thought you had in the chimney.  Plus, you won’t get the entire chimney very clean at all, and most of what is dangerous, the creosote, will remain.

Fireplace or Wood Stove Cleaning

One thing you can do regularly is to clean out your fireplace or wood stove.  Clean all of the ashes regularly, clean out the dust and the shredded papers.  When you do this, make sure to get all of the bits with your vacuum or other methods.  This will help reduce your risk of fire, and will keep the fire far less smoky.  After all, isn’t the goal of a fire to produce heat and be comfortable? It wouldn’t be so comfortable with a lot of smoke!

Cap your Chimney

Getting a cap put on the top of your chimney has a few benefits.  First, you’ll keep animals like birds and squirrels from making your chimney their home. And we can all guess what happens when you start a fire while there’s a nest in there.  Another benefit is of keeping water out.  Don’t run the risk of water damage to your chimney when there is such an easy fix.  Lastly, when you cap your chimney, you don’t need to worry about debris getting in.  Leaves and other fallen items can get into your chimney, block it, and make a lot of extra smoke throughout your house.

Use Common Sense

Don’t leave your fire unattended.  Keep your children and pets away from the fire, and make sure that you have a door blocking the open flame

Following these tips should make sure that you get through the winter safely, and are able to keep those heating bills low!  As always, give Advantage Air Duct Cleaning a call, and we will come inspect your chimney right away to make sure you’re ready for the winter.