Chimney fires pose a serious risk

Posted on: 3rd January, 2014

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

West Cork chimney sweep Michael Coakley tending to a badly blocked stove in Courtmacsherry. Michael can be contacted on 087-6553195.

West Cork chimney sweep Michael Coakley tending to a badly blocked stove in Courtmacsherry. Michael can be contacted on 087-6553195.

It’s very important to pay careful attention to the cleaning of your stove and chimney to assure the safe and efficient use of this heat source and protect your home. According to the National Safety Council (NSC) almost one in five fires in Ireland begin in chimneys.

According to the Department of Environment’s Fire Service Section March 2009, you should have your chimney swept once per year if using oil, gas or smokeless fuels, twice per year if using coal and four times per year (once per season) if using wood. Unseasoned wood is one of the main causes of chimney fires.

Poorly maintained or blocked chimneys pose a serious safety risk because they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as chimney fires.

A chimney fire can cause damage to the flue and cracks through which sparks can travel and cause a fire elsewhere in the house.

A professional chimney sweep will remove soot, blockages and built-up creosote from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber and damper. It takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney or liner as a result of burning wood.

According to West Cork assistant chief fire officer Finbarr McNulty, “It has been a quiet season for chimney fires so far. There’s been seven in West Cork since September 1 between the six stations.” Hopefully West Cork residents will continue to be vigilent in cleaning their chimneys and stoves, preventing future chimney fires.

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