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Remove Creosote Buildup with a Good Chimney Cleaning

Its going to be a rainy Halloween with the weatherman calling for rain all weekend. The temperature is expected to drop to 56-58 over the weekend- brrrh. Many fire prevention professionals are encouraging Houstonians to check their heating systems as the weather turns cooler.   Over here at American Fireplace were expecting to get really busy as customers are setting up appointments to clean out their chimneys. While the chimneys that are used seasonally can give us their owners the most problems, even those that arent used often need a good cleaning at least every other year.

More than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as the primary heat sources for their home heating needs. While it might seem that a chimney cleaning can be a home maintenance task that can put off, many people are unaware of the fire risks involved when doing so. According to the National Fire Protection Association U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 357,000 home structure fires annually during the 2009-2013 period. The damages that these fires caused were significant, causing 2,470 civilian fire deaths, 12,890 civilian fire injuries and $6.9 billion in direct damage. From the chart below, the leading causes of home structure fires was cooking equipment 45% of the time but heating equipment was second with 16% of the home structure fires.


 Source: NFPA Fact Sheet

While fireplaces, wood stoves and chimneys work together to heat the home, burn the wood and expel smoke, creosote is a dangerous by-product from the wood burning process.  Made up of smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog and assorted minerals, they stick to the inner walls of the chimney and must be removed. When the internal flue temperature is high enough, the buildup of creosote on chimney flue walls can start a chimney fire.

You can detect a chimney fires by a loud cracking or popping noise, flames and dense smoke shooting from the top of the chimney. In some cases a chimney fire may sound like a low rumbling sound and buildup from there. In the case of a chimney fire occurring in an older or newer masonry chimney the high temperatures (2000F) that are reached can melt the bricks and mortar.

An annual chimney cleaning prevents creosote buildup. Professional chimney cleaners equipped with specialized tools and brushes remove creosote, reducing the chance of a chimney fire. Dont let a chimney fire take away your most important investment. Call American Fireplace today!

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