How Dangerous is it to Neglect Chimney Maintenance?
All the enjoyment and pleasure of a fireplace can quickly turn into tragedy when chimney maintenance is neglected. At Chimney Saver Solutions, we perform all services needed for chimney repair, maintenance, upkeep, and rebuild. At the forefront of all that we do is the issue of safety. We don’t mind coming right out and making it clear it is potentially very dangerous and can be deadly to neglect chimney maintenance.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the fireplace, chimney, and chimney connectors were the causes of an average of 22,300 structure fires in the U.S. during the years 2011 through 2013. Tragically, a total of 60 people died in chimney-related fires during that three-year period. Studies through the years have shown that the most common cause of chimney-related fires is lack of maintenance. Chimney fires can easily develop into intense structure fires, and they often do.
Recent news stories
The following are a few news stories demonstrating the hazards of neglected chimneys:
· In late December 2016 in New Haven, Connecticut, a fire that started in a chimney did significant damage to a condominium and left more than 12 people homeless. Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire, which started during the afternoon. The following month, at least 13 of the condo units were torn down, because of the damage caused by the chimney fire.
· A chimney fire in Clallam County, Washington, was upgraded to a structure fire on April 14, 2017. Although firefighters were quick to arrive on the scene, the home suffered too much damage to be habitable. The specific cause of the chimney fire is still under investigation, but it is known that a build-up of excess amounts of creosote is the number one cause of chimney fires. The intensity of flames in a chimney fire can damage the chimney lining and then reach combustible areas of the home, which seems to be what happened in this case. The lone occupant suffered no injuries, but a firefighter suffered a minor injury.
· On March 15, 2017, in Sandusky, Ohio, a beloved home built in 1864 was a total loss following a fire that started in the chimney, probably due to lack of chimney maintenance, according to fire Capt. Rich Miller. No one was home when the quick-burning house fire started. The family was devastated.
Hazards associated with lack of chimney maintenance
CSIA and other fire safety experts recommend annual chimney inspections. In an inspection, specialists can determine whether there are any safety issues. Chimneys are constantly under harsh conditions, between outdoor weather and moisture wearing away at the chimney structure and the extreme heat of fires in a hearth and chimney.
Every wood fire leaves behind creosote, which is highly flammable. If a chimney isn’t periodically cleaned, the creosote becomes an increasing threat because of the possibility of chimney fires.
Obstructions in a chimney can also result in chimney fires and exposure to toxic, even deadly, fumes. By scheduling chimney maintenance prior to using a fireplace, these types of hazardous situations can be avoided.
Contact Chimney Saver Solutions for chimney maintenance
The best time to schedule chimney maintenance is in spring or summer, before the rush of fall. Chimney Saver Solutions is the most trusted full-service chimney company in the Richmond VA area. Give us a call today at 804-440-5000 for the best in chimney maintenance and chimney cleaning services.