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SAFETY TIP: CHIMNEY MAINTENANCE

By James Brown

Tips to consider when lighting your first fire of the season.

Dancing flames, spreading warmth and the crack of well-seasoned wood are but three of the pleasures of a roaring fire. Despite the strong move to gas, there are still enough working fireplaces to keep the profession of chimney sweep alive.

Before lighting the first fire of the season, it’s important to perform a thorough safety check. Chimneys and flues should be serviced on an annual basis. Cracks and leaks can lead to heat loss or even chimney fires. Debris, including leaves, nests and dead animals, can block your chimney and must be removed prior to use.

One of the major safety issues is the build up of soot and grease, particularly highly flammable creosote. Gas fires may not produce smoke, but safety checks are still vital. A damaged or blocked flue can lead to a dangerous build up of carbon monoxide. There are some visual checks you can make yourself, if you’re game to climb on the roof, but chimney maintenance is best left to the professionals.

Source : HomeLife (July 2013)

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