Experts recommend ways to prevent chimney fires during winter

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. — As the temperatures cool down, more people are turning to their fireplaces to warm up.

However, with the several chimney fires happening within the past two weeks, experts are advising on how to avoid a potential blaze.

Matthew Snyder, a certified tech for Excel Fireplace & Chimney, said it’s crucial for people to get their fireplaces inspected.

“The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that you have it cleaned once a year … it’s very important,” Synder said.

He said these yearly inspections can possibly prevent the excessive build-up of a flammable substance called creosote, which can be caused by the wood burning in a fireplace.

“Byproducts of burning buildup in the chimney, whether it be creosote, anything like that becomes flammable,” Synder said. “It needs to be removed every year because that’s what causes the chimney fires.”

He said creosote builds up in the fireplace after every fire and can travel to the chimney where it remains. However, Snyder said the kind of wood used can reduce the buildup.

“They can burn good, hard dry wood,” Synder said. “Most wood you want to have seasoned. You want to have it out so it’s dry and then good hot fires will also take care of that as well.”

Overall, Snyder said the safest route would be getting your chimney checked as it’s better to pay a small fee for an annual chimney inspection rather than thousands of dollars for fire damages.

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