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"Sweeping" your chimney alone is not enough to ensure the safe use of your fireplace Video

Preventative Maintenance Can Save Money and Homes

Preventative Maintenance Can Save Money and Homes0

September 30, 2011, Syracuse N.Y. –  While many homeowners are struggling to keep up with regular home maintenance expenses this home heating season, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) shares the reminder that saving money in the short term by delaying routine maintenance may mean additional expense in the long run. Preventative maintenance is one way to keep down the cost of keeping your home safe and warm this season. The Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fire Protection Association both recommend that homeowners call a qualified professional for an annual chimney inspection. Only a qualified professional, like a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® will be able to identify and resolve structural and maintenance issues before potential carbon monoxide intrusion and chimney fire hazards risk your time, health or money.

Qualified chimney professionals do much more than simply run a brush up the flue. A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will identify and help address installation issues, identify possible venting issues, provide needed maintenance and they will help you identify ways to operate your heating appliances more efficiently.

In addition to encouraging that chimneys and vents are inspected on an annual basis and maintained as needed, CSIA also recommends the following winter heating safety tips:

  • Test your firewood’s moisture content. Well-seasoned firewood, with an average moisture content of 20-25 percent, is easier to start, produces more heat and burns cleaner. An inexpensive handheld moisture meter, available at home improvement stores or local specialty hearth retailers, will allow you to test your own wood. In a pinch, you can simply bang two pieces together. When two pieces of seasoned wood are banged together, they make a “clunk” sound. When two pieces of green wood are banged together, they make a “thud” sound. (Learn more about how to select firewood.)
  • Learn the language of your chimney and fireplace to level the playing field. The interactive fireplace glossary at outlines the thirteen most important terms you need to knowto communicate with any professional chimney sweep. The site also offers short presentations on the chimney sweeping and inspection processes.
  • Install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. In addition to having your chimneyinspected annually, experts also recommend installing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors on every level of your home and in all sleeping areas. Place detectors in hallways or other large areas of the home where they can measure overall general atmosphere and where they will be most likely to alert you in the case of an emergency.

Annual chimney inspections and chimney maintenance is best left to a qualified chimney professional like a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. The Chimney Safety Institute of America administers the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep program by which chimney sweeps prove their technical aptitude by passing a series of two exams on industry codes and standards and by signing the CSIA Code of Ethics and maintaining a required level of continuing education. Learn more about chimney safety and locate a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep in your area by visiting

The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to chimney and venting system safety. CSIA is committed to the elimination of residential chimney fires, carbon monoxide intrusion and other chimney-related hazards that result in the loss of lives and property. To achieve these goals, CSIA devotes its resources to educating the public, chimney and venting professionals and other fire prevention specialists about the prevention and correction of chimney and venting system hazards. The CSIA sponsors National Chimney Safety Week each year during the week prior to NFPA’s National Fire Prevention Week. This year, National Chimney Safety Week is October 2-8, 2011.