A Safe Chimney is like a Healthy Heart
To safely operate your fireplace or wood stove, it helps to understand the anatomy of the chimney. When a chimney operates properly, it could be compared to a healthy heart. The combustion byproducts in the chimney freely move up and out of the chimney, just as healthy arteries move the blood through the body and to the heart. A neglected chimney can be as dangerous an unhealthy heart, just as house fire can be as tragic an event as having a health crisis. If you rely on a professional chimney sweep to maintain your chimney, your chimney can operate smoothly, like a young and healthy heart.
Get an Annual Chimney Inspection
It’s important to note that things can go wrong with a chimney in a year or less, but problems with a heart may not be obvious for decades. It’s still true that proper maintenance is important for both. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends getting an annual chimney inspection, to ensure the safe operation of wood stoves and fireplaces.
Results of Neglect
One of the most common heart problems that people have is clogged arteries caused by poor health habits. Similarly, chimneys can become dangerously obstructed and other problems can arise as a result of lack of proper maintenance. Chimneys that aren’t cleaned when needed can become so filled with layers of creosote that the draft in the chimney is almost completely obstructed. The real danger with such a chimney is that a chimney fire can easily get started with a hot ember, since creosote is highly flammable. Chimney fires burn with intense heat, and it may take only one chimney fire to cause enough damage that the house ends up catching fire, as well. As you may know, if arteries leading to the heart become clogged, the result can be a dangerous or even deadly heart attack.
If there is no chimney cap on the chimney, there are other potential obstructions that could create danger. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can get into the chimney; and an animal or bird could build a nest there. One of the more common reasons for house fires associated with chimney problems is that a fire is burned in the fireplace when the chimney is obstructed, causing a dangerous chimney fire. Experts say that once a chimney fire spreads to the home, the fire burns so quickly and hot, the occupants often do not have time to safely get out.
Treat your Chimney Right
How do maintain a healthy chimney? First, get an annual inspection by a professional chimney sweep. The chimney technician will be able to detect potential hazards such as a cracked flue. A damaged chimney liner can expose combustible parts of the home to extreme heat, which can result in a house fire.
Secondly, when necessary, have your chimney cleaned by a professional. Chimney sweeps are equipped with the best tools for cleaning, and they get the job done in such a way that you don’t have a mess to deal with afterward.
Thirdly, use the right kind of fuel, to minimize on the amount of creosote deposited in the chimney. Use only seasoned firewood.
How do you maintain a healthy heart? Well, an annual inspection may not be necessary. But it is important to eat the right foods and get sufficient exercise so that arteries are unobstructed and the heart operates as it is supposed to.
The analogy isn’t really much of a stretch. You will avoid some serious hazards by taking care of your heart and taking care of your chimney.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110