To many homeowners, fall and winter are seasons to curl up before a cozy fireplace or stove. You can avoid dangers such as chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning by putting safety before snuggling. Here are some tips from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA):
- Have your chimney checked every year to ensure both your chimney system and venting systems are working properly and safely.
- Burn only well-seasoned hardwoods to reduce buildup of creosote, a flammable compound.
- Install a chimney cap to keep out debris and to prevent birds and animals from nesting.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector to warn you if harmful gases are entering your home — a blocked or damaged chimney can cause this.
- Have your chimney waterproofed to prevent long-term corrosion and masonry damage. Avoid rebuilding old chimneys by replacing damaged clay liners with stainless-steel chimney liner pipes.
- Inspect and maintain your chimney flashing (the seal between the chimney and the roof).
- Install a sealing damper in your wood-burning system to save energy and eliminate off-season odors.
- If you own, or are planning to install, a high-efficiency gas furnace, ask your chimney sweep to check that the unit is vented according to the National Fuel Gas Code.
For a list of certified chimney sweeps in your area, call the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) at 800/536-0118.