iStock_000000302618XSmallWe often talk about the chimney as the “forgotten” home appliance, because it is hidden from view.

That is, in most cases, except for the portion of the chimney that extends beyond a home’s roofline.

This week, we’re going to talk a little bit about that section of the chimney around your roof.

It’s a topic we selected after reading this news out of Lake Arrowhead, CA, where issues with roof paneling around the chimney likely started a fire and foliage around the structure threatened to spread the flames.

We asked our Director of Education, Ashley Eldridge, about the story to get his take. He says there are three safety issues most commonly related to this section of the chimney.

Where the chimney and roof meet: Eldridge says the industry standard is for a 2-inch clearance to be left between roof decking, or other combustibles, and the chimney structure. If this clearance is missing in your home, there is an increased risk for a chimney’s heat to create a fire.

Where the chimney and trees meet: Catching fire is the obvious concern, but trees and brush too close to the chimney also can adversely affect a chimney’s draft, potentially preventing hazardous gases from escaping your home efficiently. Eldridge says the industry recommendation is to keep branches at least 15 feet from the chimney opening to prevent a range of potential hazards.

Where the chimney and flashing meet: We blogged recently about issues with roof flashing, the material meant to keep water away from your chimney. The bottom line is that warped or otherwise damaged flashing could allow water to penetrate and damage your chimney, and repairs should be made if flashing is not positioned flush to the structure.

A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep can take a look each of these issues at your home and take action to make your home safer where needed.