Time for Critical Chimney and Fireplace Home Inspections

“We educate home inspectors and home owners all year long about the necessity of chimney and fireplace inspections, and National Chimney Safety Week increases awareness as we head into the upcoming seasonal concerns,” says Frances L. Kelly, Executive Director, Chimney Safety Institute of America and National Chimney Sweep Guild.

CSIA’s National Chimney Safety week – September 28 to October 4 – will reach the public via media interviews and features, as well social media that includes videos about maintaining chimneys and fireplaces. “Besides our brochure, What You Need to Know After a Chimney Fire, that we give to fire departments, we are developing one for home inspectors so they can give it to home owners.”
Despite the ongoing news about fires through fireplace or chimney problems, many home owners do not fully understand the importance of an inspection. If they don’t use their fireplaces, “why do I need an annual inspection?” Or, if they don’t have a fireplace, but their chimney appears O.K. and there’s no odor or issues that would suggest a problem, why does it need an inspection?

“However,” adds Frances. “I can identify with this perspective. That is, during my last chimney inspection by a CSIA certified chimney sweep discovered that I did have a fire in the chimney but hadn’t realized it.”
CSIA explains that from 2009 to 2011, there was an average of 24,300 chimney fires in the U.S. resulting in $30.8 million in damage. And, according to the most recent 2010 census, 2.44 million homes used wood as their main house heating fuel.
Unfortunately, whether it’s wood-burning fireplace collecting creosote that leads to a fire, a fireplace that can ignite even if you don’t use it on a regular basis, or a chimney that lacks proper venting or a lining that can result in carbon monoxide threats, “our goal is to educate home owners and home inspectors.”

Source: Excerpt from “Time for Critical Chimney and Fireplace Home Inspections” by Sally Chapralis for CSIA / ASHI