Chimney and venting inspections recommended for people relying
on alternative heat sources such as wood stoves, pellet stoves and fireplaces.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. October, 2000 Rising home heating prices
this winter could cause more than just a strain on pocketbooks. For people turning
to alternative heat sources for heating bill relief -- such as wood stoves, pellet
stoves or fireplaces -- this energy crisis has the potential to increases the risk
of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the concern is over
people increasing stove or fireplace usage without proper preventative maintenance.
“We are raising the flag that if people have not yet had their chimney
or vents inspected, now is the time to take this precautionary step,” says Mark
McSweeney, executive director of the CSIA. “Most people who use their stoves or
fireplaces on occasion don't realize that creosote buildup or blocked vents -- due
to leaves or animals nests -- can cause dangerous problems, such as chimney fires
and or carbon monoxide seeping back into a home. We want people to stay safe while
they work hard to stay warm.”
The most recent statistics available from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
indicate that in 1997 there were 23,800 fires caused by solid fuel heating equipment.
These fires resulted in 90 deaths, 130 injuries and more than $171 million in damages.
These statistics do not include oil, propane, natural gas or electric home heating
appliances or chimneys.
In addition to encouraging that chimneys and vents be inspected on an annual
basis, the CSIA also recommends the following winter heating safety tips:
- Make sure alternative heat sources, such as wood stoves or pellet stoves,
are properly installed and are operating correctly
- Only use the fuel specified for the alternative heat source. For wood stoves
use wood and for pellet stoves use pellets.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector.
- Check smoke alarms. Smoke alarms hardwired into a home's electrical system
should have battery back-ups. Replace batteries in both smoke detectors and
carbon monoxide detectors.
CSIA also recommends that chimney and venting inspections be performed by CSIA
Certified Chimney Sweeps.
For more information on chimney safety, or for a list of certified sweeps, write
to the CSIA, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168, call 1-800-536-0118
or go to www.csia.org. Established in 1983, CSIA is a non-profit, educational institution,
dedicated to educating the public about the prevention of chimney safety hazards.