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CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
CARBON MONOXIDE - CO
CHIMNEY COMPONENT DEFINITIONS
CHIMNEY FIRE ACTION / PREVENTION
COMBUSTION GASES & PARTICLE HAZARDS
COMBUSTION PRODUCTS & IAQ
FLAME COLOR, BLUE vs YELLOW COMBUSTION
HEATING SYSTEM INSPECTION
HOME HEATING SAFETY
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
SAFETY RECALLS CHIMNEYS VENTS HEATERS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
WOOD, COAL STOVES & FIREPLACES
WOOD STOVE SAFETY
Chimney fires: steps to prevent a chimney fire from a fireplace, woodstove, or woodstove or fireplace insert safety include making sure that your metal chimney or "flue" is safe. "Safe" means clean, properly constructed and installed, using proper materials and proper fire clearances. A separate article describes FIREPLACE INSPECTIONS indoors, listing a professional chimney sweep's fireplace and chimney hazard checklist for problems that can be found by visual inspection at the fireplace or chimney cleanout.
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Fireplace Safety Advice from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission - US CPSC Document 5047 - expanded
Know what to do in the event of a chimney fire:
The US CPSC offers some succinct advice to avoid having a costly and dangerous house fire or an unsafe gas leak hazard. Consumer Product Safety Commission Metal Chimneys: Safety Alert CPSC Document #5047 . We have added to the original CPSC information. For a succinct pamphlet on chimney and woodstove safety see this Chimney and Woodstove Fire Safety Code Information Sheet from Vermont.
Key chimney fire safety articles besides this one: be sure to read CREOSOTE FIRE HAZARDS and review Fireplace Damage & Unsafe Hearths. Also see FIREPLACE INSPECTIONS for a professional chimney sweep's fireplace and chimney hazard checklist. At FIREPLACE INSERTS we discuss fireplace inserts and zero-clearance fireplaces, both antique and modern, and their hazards and inspection limitations. Readers should also see Inaccessible Connections Fireplace or Woodstove. The inspection of chimney interiors is discussed at Chimney Inspection: Flue Interiors.
Before Using a Wood Stove, Coal Stove, or Fireplace Insert: Safety Checks
[Before using your wood stove, coal stove in the coming or current heating season] the US Consumer Product Safety Commission [since 1983 has] strongly urged you, if you have a [wood stove or coal stove] or fireplace connected to a metal chimney, to check for any damage that may have occurred in the past heating season.
Look for signs of structural failure, such as deformation, cracks, or holes. If it is difficult to examine the chimney, a local chimney repairman, chimney "sweep", or dealer can help. Have any damage repaired NOW.
Most fires in metal factory- built chimneys occur because of improper installation, use or maintenance. The Commission staff has identified the following common causes:
Sketch - US CPSC.
Even when the heating appliance is properly installed, people with both metal and masonry chimney systems should frequently check the chimney for creosote deposits, soot build-up or physical damage. This involves only a simple visual examination, but it should be done as often as twice a month during heavy use.
If you see heavy creosote build-up, suspect a problem, or have had a chimney fire, a qualified chimney repairman or chimney "sweep" should perform a complete safety inspection. They can arrange for any necessary repairs or creosote removal, which must be done before the heating appliance is used again. Details are at CREOSOTE FIRE HAZARDS.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission advises owners of metal woodstove or fireplace insert chimneys to:
If you have had a fire or other safety problem with your chimney, please provide this information to the Commission by calling the Commission's toll-free Hotline 800-638-CPSC.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about wood stove or coal stove fire safety, hazards, clearances, & chimney fire prevention
Questions & answers or comments about chimney fires, causes, response, & prevention. .
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Technical Reviewers & References
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