By asking this question about your fireplace, you take responsibility for the health and safety of their family or customers. It is the first step to making sure your heating system is safe and efficient.
There are a few reasons why a fireplace may be unsafe for use.
- It may be a minor reason, like an old fireplace is missing a screen. This is a safety hazard, but is one easily fixed by purchasing a screen to block sparks and ash from leaving the fireplace. These types of screens are designed to withstand the heat of the fire, and can also be used to keep small children away from a hot fire.
Although some minor problems are easy to fix, the fireplace itself is not the only thing to consider when assessing the safety of your heat system. The fireplace or furnace is made up of many parts that must all be in proper working order for safe use.
- You may be concerned about safety if you notice some of these parts aren’t working properly. If you see a problem with your damper, door or hearth, smoke box, or chimney connectors you should call a certified chimney sweep before using your fireplace or appliance. Likewise, if you notice moisture or an unusual draft coming down into your chimney, or suspect an animal or bird has set up camp in your chimney flue you should call a certified chimney sweep.
- You may ask this question if you have just acquired a fireplace or furnace through a newly purchased home. If this is the case, you are urged to schedule a level II chimney inspection with a certified chimney sweep as soon as possible. Although the National Fire Protection Association requires a level II inspection after a transfer or sale (as per NFPA 211), it may also be required by your home owners insurance company. After your furnace, fireplace, chimney, and flue undergo an appropriate level II inspection, you can rest assured your fireplace is safe for use. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends inspections for other reasons as well.
- Finally, you may simply ask about fireplace safety because you find your fireplace isn’t working as well as you hoped. If you notice a decline in the efficiency of your fireplace, it’s definitely worth looking into. If you are concerned your fireplace isn’t working correctly or efficiently, read through “100 Reasons Why Your Fireplace Doesn’t Work”. Some of the reasons your fireplace is’t working properly do not make it immediately unsafe, but over time efficiency problems like slow-burning fires can cause creosote buildup in the chimney flue, which can lead to flue and chimney fires.
Above all, you must get a professional opinion before operating a fireplace you feel is unsafe, regardless of your reasons for concern. With over 20 years experience our technicians at Chimney Solutions will be able to ease your concerns, whether you schedule a chimney sweep or an inspection. Your safety is our first concern, and we stand behind our services.