Your fireplace brings you much joy and comfort during the colder winter months and oftentimes a homeowner can get so caught so much in all the warm ambiance that their fireplace adds to their home, that they forget that it is an appliance that needs proper operation and annual preventative maintenance. At Leonard and Sons, we believe that it is important to bring awareness to topics related to fireplace and chimney safety. That’s why at the beginning of fall every year, we observe Chimney Safety Week. Chimney Safety Week is a good reminder to homeowners of how to properly operate and maintain their fireplace and chimney system and avoid putting yourself in a hazardous situation.
Chimney Safety Week
In the spirit of fall, cooler weather brings a need to remind homeowners that there are some tasks they need to check off before they begin using their fireplace for the year. The purpose of Chimney Safety Week is to inform homeowners that chimney fires are not an uncommon occurrence and can be avoided by following a few simple guiding principles.
Why is Chimney Safety Week Important?
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are, on average, 22,000 chimney fires that cause residential home damage every year in the U.S. The most tragic thing about these fires is that most of them could have been avoided with proper chimney maintenance. Most of these fires were caused by an excess build-up of creosote, a byproduct of burning wood, coal, or gas, in the chimney. When creosote builds up enough, it can cause a fire that is nearly impossible to put out. Although creosote is unavoidable, with annual sweepings and proper fire-burning techniques, you can alleviate the risks that come with creosote.
The best way to protect your home from a chimney fire is to have your chimney inspected annually by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep. Only a CSIA certified sweep, like the ones at Leonard and Sons, will be able to make sure that your chimney is clean and safe to operate when cooler weather sets in.
Proper Fire Burning
It is also important to create fires responsibly. You should only burn well-seasoned firewood in your fireplace. Well seasoned firewood is wood that has been split and set out to dry for 6 to 12 months. Unseasoned wood is wetter and burns at lower temperatures. This causes more smoke and creosote buildup. You should only burn firewood in your fireplace and never burn things like garbage, wrapping paper, treated lumber, or stained wood in your fireplace. Burning these things increases the likelihood of causing a house fire and releasing harmful gases into your home.
Have a Safe Winter!
Fire Safety Week is a great reminder to schedule an annual chimney inspection. If it’s been a while since your last chimney inspection, you could be putting your home at risk. Call Chicagoland’s top chimney sweeping service, Leonard and Son’s, at 847-658-7659 or set up an appointment online for an annual inspection today. We look forward to keeping you safe for another winter.