Preparing Your Fireplace To Prevent Possible Home Damage - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/28/03

Preparing Your Fireplace To Prevent Possible Home Damage

According to the U-S Fire Administration, more than one-third of Americans use fireplaces as a primary heat source in their homes. Unfortunately, many people don't know about the risks of using a fireplace. Heating fires account for 36-percent of residential home fires every year. Hopefully this story will keep your home not only warm for the holidays, but safe.

The falling temperatures are providing the perfect setting for the holiday season, as well as for guys like these firewood dealers.

People will spend hundreds of dollars buying wood to keep warm, but if they are not fully prepared, they could soon be shopping for a new place to live.

"That's creosote accumulation and it accumulates in your flue tiles or your flue pipe. That's what catches a fire and can burn your house down," said chimney sweeper David Smith of Smitty's Chimney Service.

That's what is believed to have happened at this home in Saucier on Wednesday afternoon.

A fire in the fireplace got out of control.

Fortunately no one was injured, but Smith says disasters like these could possibly be prevented.

"If your chimneys not properly cleaned, every firemen will tell you once a year an inspection or a cleaning, it will get a build up of creosote in the pipe or flue tower, whichever you have. When it gets hot enough, it can turn into a flame inside of your flue, and you don't want a flame up high in your flue. You want your flame in your fire box. Lighterknot is real popular on the coast to get your fire started. Use it in small amounts. don't throw a big piece in there because it burns extremely hot and produces a lot of residue that can get in your chimney," said Smith.

He also suggests keeping your Christmas tree as far from the fireplace as you can, as well as purchasing a hearth protection rug - which is fire-proof - so the embers won't burn a hole in your carpet.

Proper preparation will give you peace of mind for a peaceful chilly season.

Smith says to go with hardwoods when building a fire.

They produce less creosote in your chimney.

By Karla Redditte

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