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Chimney and Home Heating Safety Tips

Chimney and Home Heating Safety Tips

The East Peoria Fire Department encourages residents to practice safe use of their fireplaces.

Creosote accumulates in a chimney when wood is burned in a fireplace or stove. The build-up of creosote makes chimney fires a concern. These noisy fires flare up without notice and create intense heat that can damage the chimney and potentially destroy the home. Regular maintenance is the best prevention.

The fire department recommends having the chimney inspected on a regular basis. Hire a professional to make repairs immediately before a change in season worsens any damage.

Create as few bends as possible in the chimney of a wood-burning stove.  This allows maximum draft up and out the chimney. Install the proper size stove pipe with a separate flue for each stove or fireplace.

Use the services of a professional bonded chimney sweep to remove built-up creosote and improve the chimney's draft. Gauge the number of cleanings by how often the fireplace is used.

Reduce creosote build-up by stoking fires often, increasing the airflow to the fire. Leave the door open slightly on wood-burning stoves after adding wood to the fire. This promotes more rapid burning, which reduces creosote formation in the chimney.

Use only seasoned woods in the fireplace, considering the degree of dryness rather than the hardness or softness of the wood. Build smaller fires that burn hotter, creating less smoke and creosote in the chimney.

Cap the chimney to prevent birds and squirrels from nesting in the top of the brickwork. Immediately investigate signs of nesting, such as bird noises coming from the hearth or animal droppings in the fireplace. Remove the nests, which are highly flammable.

Have a home inspection when purchasing a house, and choose a bonded inspector. Have the chimney construction inspected and type identified.

Additional Tips and  Warnings

  • If there is a chimney fire, call the fire department immediately.
  • Never burn trash, cardboard, wrapping paper or the Christmas tree in the fireplace. Floating ash can cause a chimney fire.
  • Do not store items in the attic next to the chimney.

 


 

Turning up the heat can increase the risk of fire!

As the temperature drops, residents may turn to other heating methods to supplement the furnace. However, turning up the heat can increase the risk of fires.

Nearly half of all home-heating fires occur during winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Residents can reduce the number of home heating fires by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly. Home heating safety tips recommended by the East Peoria Fire Department and NFPA include:

  • Providing space for space heaters. Items that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, should be at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Turning portable heaters off when going to bed or leaving a room.
  • Plugging power cords into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
  • Inspecting for cracked, frayed or broken plugs or loose connections. These should be replaced.
  • Having the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary.
  • Using a sturdy fireplace screen.
  • Allowing ashes to cool before disposal. Ashes should be disposed of in a metal container.
  • Installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home, so when one sounds they all sound. Test smoke alarms once a month.
  • Installing and maintaining a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
  • Never using an oven to heat a home.

 



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