Experts recommend annual inspections to avoid chimney fires

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PEORIA, Ill. — This week is Fire Prevention Week. Through Oct. 12, fire experts are letting homeowners know ways to prevent chimney fires.

Nick Hansen, owner of Excel Fireplace & Chimney, said there are about 25,000 chimney fires reported throughout the year. Damage costs exceeds more than 100 million dollars a year.

Hansen said these are mainly due to negligence.

“Number one cause is definitely lack of maintenance,” Hansen said. “With yearly maintenance, we should be able to prevent all of that.”

He said when chimneys are not inspected or tended to over a period of time, it may lead to a chemical build-up of creosote.

The build can eventually lead to combustion.

“Creosote is the main cause of chimney fires,” Hansen said. “There are multiple things that kind of go into how creosote builds up, but for the most part, it’s bad wood and cold flue temperatures.”

Hansen said the best way to avoid a chimney fire is to annually have your chimney inspected even if you don’t have a fireplace.

“Furnaces and water heaters need to be inspected as well,” Hansen said. “So have your chimneys inspected yearly by a professional and make sure your family is safe.”

Hansen also said yearly chimney inspections and sweeps can also help with detecting carbon monoxide or any other gases that may be in your home.

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