Your home's chimney needs to be properly constructed, regularly maintained, and annually cleaned to avoid chimney fires. This may sound like it is a hassle but really it's fairly simple and painless.
1. Proper Construction: This is a little tricky for a homeowner to determine but generally you will know if the construction is substandard since the chimney will fail inspection at closing. If you have someone build you a chimney make sure you are dealing with a professional mason and DO check references of other home owners they have constructed chimneys for. If there is anything your not sure of call your local building inspector and ask their opinion.
2. Regular Maintenance: Your chimney and fireplace will tell you a lot just by looking at them. Are there cracks? Are there areas of missing material? Did the chimney cap fall off? Take a critical peek at everything at least once a year. If you can, take a look at the flue pipes from the roof. There should not be separation or cracking in your flue pipes. Similar to the fire brick your fireplace should have flue pipes are the first defense against heat escaping your chimney.
3. Annual Cleaning: Have a pro clean your chimney annually. Set it up for the same month every year. Usually the guys who do this work are pretty savvy with being able to spot problems so be sure to ask questions. If you'd like to DIY this part a good source of info on how to do it will be your local fire department.
Also: Do not dispose of hot ashes without first watering them down. The wind can, and will, blow them around and start fires. Your best bet is to let them become cold before disposal. Visit our Chimneys page for more information.
Bill Pearn Masonry Blog
Quality construction does not only build structures, it also builds: town pride, small business opportunity, beautiful neighborhoods, home equity, and ultimately better lives.
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