Beer, Bowl Games and House Fires

BEL AIR, Jan. 2, 2014 / MM Globalwire / – It’s that time of year. College football bowl games are in full swing, and so are the bowl game parties.  Beer? Check. Chips and Salsa? Check. Big fire in the chimney? Check.

Most Americans have only one concern on their minds during college bowl game season – whether their teams will win or not. But, there’s a lurking concern far more serious than a losing a bowl game or eating bad guacamole, and that is the potential for a house fire.

A leading cause of house fires is chimney soot.

A leading cause of house fires is chimney soot.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 365,000 house fires in 2012, which resulted in over 2,300 deaths, and cost $5.7 billion in damages. One of the leading causes of home fires is a home’s chimney.

“Creosote, or ‘soot’, is unburned fuel that collects in the flu and chimney,” said Dennis Barnes, owner of Piccadilly Square Chimney Sweeps, which services Harford County, Baltimore County and locations around Maryland. “When excess creosote builds up in a chimney flu it becomes highly combustible, and can cause a fire that showers sparks onto the roof. It can create an extremely dangerous situation,” Barnes added.

Imagine the panic and fear of having your roof catch fire during a party.  The good thing is that it’s avoidable.

What can homeowners do to significantly reduce the chance of a house fire?

Barnes knows the dangers of soot buildup.  During his 30-plus years in business, he’s seen the harrowing toll house fires can cause to good people.  His simple recommendation to reduce the risk of house fires is to “have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually, or per cord of wood burned.”

The National Fire Protection Association agrees, adding that oil and gas furnaces’ flues should be inspected every year, and cleaned every three and seven years, respectively.

“As we enter into the winter months, the dangers of house fires increase exponentially. In fact, the month of January accounts for 21% of all house fires.  The number one thing you can do to ensure the protection of your home and family is to schedule a chimney inspection before you start using your fireplace this year,” Barnes added.

So, whether you are rooting for Florida State to beat Auburn; Michigan State to beat Stanford; Clemson to beat Ohio State; or whomever your favorite team is to beat the other guy – don’t set yourself up for the greatest (and most dangerous) disaster of the year.  Have your chimney inspected so you, your family and friends can enjoy the games safely and worry-free.

More information on house fires can be found here.

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