A News Consumer — 19 September 2014

House fire marylandChimneys can be dirty things.  They can be dangerous, too.

One of the leading causes of house 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,” he added.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were an estimated 365,000 house fires in 2012, which resulted in over 2,300 deaths, and cost $5.7 billion in damages.

So, when should you get your chimney cleaned? NFPA says:

  • Fireplace and woodstove flues should be cleaned or inspected once a year or per cord of wood burned;
  • Pellet stoves should be cleaned once a year or per ton of pellets burned.
  • Oil Furnaces should be cleaned every 3 years, gas furnaces should be cleaned every 7 years. Oil and gas furnaces flues should be inspected annually for structural integrity.

If you are like most people, you haven’t had your chimney cleaned or inspected in years.  And that is simply dangerous.

“As we enter into fall and the start of the football season, the dangers of house fires increase greatly. A good rule of thumb is to get your chimney cleaned at the start of the football season.  It’s easy to remember and marks the time when you start using your fireplace.  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 recommends.

Indeed.  Kick off the football season with clean chimney and peace of mind throughout the fall and winter.


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