One of the more popular features that custom home builders are asked to include in custom designed homes is a fireplace, which you have included in your most recent home building design.
If you do have a fireplace, when is the last time you had the chimney cleaned?
Before you use your fireplace again and create a potential health and safety risk, it might be time to call out a contractor to clean it out so it’s safe to use.
Chimney Fires A Significant Cause of House Fires
The Chimney Safety Institute of America or CSIA estimates that there are more than 25,000 chimney fires every year.
Chimney fires customarily start in the chimney and then expand to the exterior and/or interior of the house in various ways.
These fires that can burn extremely hot and even produce small explosions in the chimney cause more than $125M in damage each year.
Fortunately, preventing them and protecting your custom designed home is easy; just have your chimney cleaned and inspected regularly.
How Do Chimney Fires Happen?
Although it may seem contradictory that using the fireplace installed by your custom home builder and designed to burn wood could result in a dangerous chimney fire, it happens rather frequently.
These fires happen when the chimney is not clean enough and is instead coated on the inside with waste material from the burning fire itself.
Wood burning fires give off soot that coats the inside of the chimney, damper, and flue as well as expels creosote, a flammable substance that glazes the inside of the chimney vents.
Over time, the amount of creosote caked onto the inside of these vents can increase to the point where it can ignite if it gets hot enough in the chimney or a tall enough flame from the fireplace reaches where it is located.
Characterized by loud popping or crackling sounds coming from the chimney and very black soot escaping from it, the heat of a chimney fire will gradually degrade the masonry structure that surrounds it.
Once that starts happening, the next fire could be the one that makes contact with the structural materials in your roof and ignites the whole house.
Chimneys Also Need Maintenance
To protect your custom built home from the dangers of a chimney fire, the CSIA and National Fire Protection Association recommend a yearly chimney inspection whether or not you use your fireplaces.
Chimneys are also favorite spots for birds and rodents to nest and potentially gain entry into your home.
If you do use your fireplace, it’s recommended that you have it cleaned once a year by a professional chimney sweep before you start using it for the season.
The chimney sweep will scrape the insides of the chimney and remove the layers of soot and creosote that have built up after last season’s use, so your fireplace and chimney are clean and safe to use once more.
Don’t Start Off This Winter With A Bang
You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your custom home building project.
The fireplace your home builder has installed should always remain a source of warmth and pleasure for you and your family.
Keep it safe and avoid a dangerous chimney fire with a yearly chimney inspection and cleaning.
A clean chimney will give you peace of mind that your custom designed home is protected from an unexpected and highly destructive accident!
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