September - Clean Sweep

Imagine a cold winter night, you're in your living room, all cozy and warm by your fireplace, when all of a sudden it sounds as if a freight train is coming down the chimney. You are experiencing a chimney fire!

Improper Chimney Maintenance

Each year thousand of homes experience this due to improper maintenance of their chimney. These fires can be prevented by making sure your flue is lined and in good repair, by having it inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional and by learning how to build fires that reduce the build-up of creosote. The cause of most chimney fires is creosote which is a by-product resulting from the incomplete combustion of wood. It accumulates on the sides of your chimney and stovepipe as a liquid and later condenses into a solid. As it builds up it not only blocks the flue, but can ignite into a roaring fire.

A Professional Cleaning

It is recommended that you have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected at least once a year. If you use your fireplace or wood stove as a primary source of heat for your home, you should consider a cleaning and inspection at the beginning and end of each heating season. 

To select a chimney sweep, don't just base your decision on cost. Ask if they are certified by the National Chimney Sweep Guild or a trade school. Are they active in a state or local guild? How did they learn their craft? Ask for references.

A professional chimney sweep will do more than brush out your chimney. They inspect your chimney for damage to liners, cracks due to settling, improper installation of prefabricated chimneys and much more.

Cut Down on Creosote Build-Up

You can cut down on the build-up of creosote by using your fireplace or wood stove properly. Burn it hot; the hotter the fire, the more complete the combustion. Burn hard woods, i.e, hickory, ash, or maple, that have been seasoned for at least one year. Take care not to burn construction scraps, treated woods, wrapping paper or boughs from evergreens. If you've never had your chimney cleaned and inspected or it's been a while, the Canton Fire Prevention Bureau encourages you to take these precautions to prevent a chimney fire in your home.