As the temperatures begin to cool, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (www.csia.org) issues its annual chimney inspection reminder. Both the CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org) recommend annual chimney inspections by a qualified professional and sweeping when necessary.
“Don’t think that just because you have not used your chimney lately that it is ready to go,” reminds Ashley Eldridge, CSIA’s Director of Education. “Any variety of things, such as animals, can get into your chimney in the off-season.”
According to the most recent statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 25,100 chimney fires are responsible for 30 deaths and $126.1 million in property damage on average each year.
Annual chimney inspections allow the chimney sweep to note cracks, creosote buildup or other obstructions which may diminish the functionality of the system and create an environment where chimney fires or carbon monoxide intrusion are likely. (The CSIA website features a video about the three levels of chimney inspections.)
CSIA recommends that people take a few steps when considering which chimney sweep will perform an annual chimney inspection or related service. While the CSIA recommends that people consider a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (visit their website to locate one), there are additional questions that should be asked to ensure that the person hired is a credible service technician:
How long has the chimney sweeping company been in business?
Does the company offer current references?
Does the company have unresolved complaints filed with the city or state consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau?
Does the company or individual carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect your home and furnishings against accidents?
Does the company ensure that a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will be on the job site?
There are more than 1,500 CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps located within North America. To ensure that homeowners receive a certified sweep at every job, all companies promoting the credential are required to have a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep sign each report.
Homeowners can watch short videos, learn more about chimney safety and can locate a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep online at www.csia.org.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a non-profit, educational institution dedicated to educating the public about the prevention of chimney and venting safety hazards, and is a proud sponsor of National Chimney Safety Week.
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