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Dirty chimneys pose fire risk


Shelley Steeves, reporter
November 18, 2011 — You can minimize your fire risk through the winter season by having your stoves and chimneys cleaned.


Wood stoves haven't had much use so far this fall
Wood stoves haven't had much use so far this fall

Cooler weather is settling into the Maritimes, but so far this fall it's been an incredibly mild season.

As a result, some people may not be using their wood stoves as often or as efficiently. Experts say that can actually be dangerous.

“The problem is if you use it now because it's so mild you tend to shut them off a little more and that's going to build up your creosote,” explains Paul Aubut with Certified Chimney Sweep.

For example, if you light up your stove with a roaring fire in the morning and then simply turn or shut it down only a few hours later as the weather turns milder, Aubut says your stove is not burning clean.

“When the smoke comes out of your chimney it cools off too much before it exits the chimney and that's when you build up the creosote.“

And all that soot can lead to a chimney fire.

Dirty chimneys pose fire risk
Dirty chimneys pose fire risk

Aubut has had to clean a lot of filthy chimneys this year. He's also spotted a lot of other potential fire hazards.

“If there is damage to them it can be quite dangerous. Another thing we look for is the condition of the chimney to make sure it's sound for people to use it. Some chimneys can be cracking and bricks can come apart. You have to look at everything.”

These are things that only a WETT certified technician can spot, so beware of fly by night chimney sweeps who are not necessarily trained to identify potential fire risks.

“That's why you want somebody that is trained in the field, that is WETT certified and they all should have this ID badge, this card and basically they know exactly what to look for”

So as the cooler weather really starts to settle in, make sure to have your stove serviced and your chimney cleaned before you start using it on a regular basis throughout the season.

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