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New Home Heating Patterns May Increase Potential for Chimney Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Date:  9/16/2008
ArticleType:  Press Release

Plainfield, IN – September 16, 2008 With record-setting home heating prices anticipated this autumn and winter, efficiency is at the forefront this year. As many homeowners address their financial concerns by turning to solid fuel appliances, like wood or pellet stoves, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) sends the reminder that the new heating patterns, including an increase in solid-fuel use, have the potential to increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires.

According to the most recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), chimneys and chimney connectors accounted for the largest share (36 percent) of home heating fire incidents in 2005, with “failure to clean” accounting for two-thirds of those fires.

“Responsible operation of heating appliances calls for annual maintenance,” states Ashley Eldridge, director of education of CSIA. “Surprisingly few homeowners realize that the chimneys venting their furnaces, water heaters and stoves, as well as the fireplace in the living room, need to be inspected by a qualified professional each year.”

The most recent estimates available from the Consumer Product Safety Commission show an average of 25,700 residential structural fires related to fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors resulting in 30 deaths and $627 million in property losses annually.

In addition to encouraging that chimneys and vents be inspected on an annual basis and maintained as needed to reduce the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimney, the CSIA also recommends the following winter heating safety tips:

* Ensure that new appliances are installed with the correct venting components as defined by the manufacturer.
* Install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of the home.
* Check smoke alarms. Replace batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors when clocks are reset for Daylight Savings Time.
      
For further information on chimney and venting safety, chimney inspections, what to expect when you hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep and to locate a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, homeowners are encouraged to visit www.CSIA.org .

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The Chimney Safety Institute of America, established in 1983, is a non-profit, educational institution, dedicated to educating the public about the prevention of chimney and venting safety hazards. The CSIA recommends annual inspections be performed by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. These chimney professionals have earned the industry's most respected credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimney and venting systems.

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