PLAINFIELD , IN – September 1, 2004 While new hearth products have made fireplace ownership much more convenient, maintenance requirements have remained steady. Many American homeowners assume that their chimneys only need to be cleaned and inspected if they burn wood in their fireplaces or wood stoves. But almost all heating appliances, whether fueled by gas, oil, wood or coal, rely on chimneys and vents to safely carry toxic gases, like carbon monoxide (CO), out of the home.
This autumn, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) reminds homeowners that an annual chimney inspection by a qualified professional can significantly reduce home heating hazards.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that CO poisoning from the improper use of fuel-burning appliances results in more than 200 deaths each year, in addition to attributing to approximately 10,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms. And according to the Hardware/Homecenter Research Industry, only 27% of homes in America have carbon monoxide alarms.
Advances in chimney inspection techniques coupled with the use of carbon monoxide alarms can considerably reduce home heating hazards and increase peace of mind. “Enhancements in video inspection equipment, paired with the three levels of chimney inspections established by the National Fire Protection Association's chimney safety standards, have taken the chimney service industry by storm,” says Mark McSweeney, CSIA's Executive Director.
“Homeowners now have physical confirmation to support a technician's written documentation. The equipment allows you to see what the technicians have seen all along.”
In addition to having your chimney inspected regularly, experts also recommend installing carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home and in all sleeping areas. Place them in hallways or other large areas of the home where they can measure the overall general atmosphere and be sure to test CO alarms according to manufacturer's instructions.
Look for a CO alarm with battery backup for protection during power outages. Also, CO alarms with electrochemical sensors provide the highest level of accuracy to detect CO. Protection from both fire and CO poisoning can be achieved through talking combination units. Talking combination alarms emit a beeping tone followed by a voice warning that clearly states the present danger – smoke or CO.
CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have earned the chimney and venting 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. They are also well versed in the characteristics of fuels available for home heating such as wood, gas and oil. This knowledge allows them to expertly diagnose and solve chimney and venting problems.
The CSIA, established in 1983, is a non-profit, educational institution, dedicated to educating the public about the prevention of chimney and venting safety hazards. CSIA devotes its resources to educating the public, chimney service professionals, other fire prevention specialists and the insurance industry about the prevention and correction of chimney venting system problems.
Each fall, CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps® work together to raise awareness of chimney safety during National Chimney Safety Week. The awareness week begins this year on September 26 and runs through October 2.
For more information about preventing chimney hazards or for free copies of CSIA's publications "Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Hazards” and “Chimney Inspections Explained”, call (800) 536-0118 or visit the CSIA web site at www.csia.org. The CSIA also provides a list of CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps online and by mail.