The fall season is here and the cool air is beginning to roll in, but experts say there are some precautions to take before firing up your wood stove.
Jake Loeffler owns Brickliners in Williston and offers chimney cleaning services year-round. He says fall is by far his busiest time of year.
“That is when people start thinking about their wood stoves, stacking their wood and getting ready for the winter,” explained Loeffler.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommend that homeowners have their chimney inspected once a year. Loeffler said, “We do this to ensure there are no cracked flues, gaps or cracks and check clearances to make sure the exterior of your chimney is in working order.”
Loeffler and his team feed specialized equipment through your chimney including a sweeping device and even cameras.
“The flues are there to contain the products of combustion so that they safely exit the home and if there is a buildup of creosote and it catches on fire it can become something that is unmanageable,” explained Loeffler.
Ken Morton is the fire chief in Williston, he and his crew respond to a handful of chimney related fires every year. Morton says people need to mindful of what they’re burning.
“When you have a fire make sure it is burning appropriate fuel using good dry wood not green wood which of course creates creosote more quickly,” said Morton.
Morton also stresses the importance of cleaning the actual wood stove or fireplace.
Morton said, “Please please make sure that when you clean your stove out that the ashes go a good distance away from the home and are properly disposed of whether in the snow to snuff out or put out with water.”
While some clean their own chimney, Loeffler says it’s a task that should be left to the pros.
“You are reducing the risks of something going wrong throughout the winter, you want to enjoy your woodstove and fireplace and it can be very short-lived if there is a problem that you are unaware of,” said Loeffler.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America there are more than 25,000 chimney fires across the country every year causing more than $120 million in property damage.