Chimney Fire Safety
Remember Dryer Vents
3 Levels of Inspection
Fire You Want from Starting One You Don’t
Chimney fires don’t have to happen.
Here are some ways to avoid them:
Have your chimney inspected annually by
a qualified professional and cleaned when necessary.
Use seasoned woods only (dryness
is more important than hard wood versus soft wood considerations)
hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke.
Never burn cardboard
boxes, wrapping paper, trash or Christmas trees; these can spark a chimney fire.
stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures where wood stoves are in use, so you can adjust burning practices
Inspect and clean catalytic combustors on a regular basis, where applicable
What to Do if You Have a Chimney Fire.
If you realize a chimney
fire is occurring, follow these steps:
Get everyone out of the house, including yourself.
Call the fire department.
If you can do so without
risk to yourself, these additional steps may help save your home. Remember, however, that homes are replaceable, lives are
Put a chimney fire extinguisher into the fireplace or wood stove.
Close the glass doors on the fireplace.
inlets on the wood stove.
Use a garden hose to spray down the roof (not the chimney)
so the fire won’t spread to the rest of the structure.
For more chimney safety
tips, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America
Don't Forget Your Clothes Dryer Vent
The Chimney Safety Institute of America
cautions the public that there’s a growing fire and carbon monoxide poisoning danger that could result in unnecessary
deaths, injuries or property damage – the obstruction or improper venting of clothes dryer exhaust ducts.
To combat dryer fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, the CSIA recommends that homeowners have clothes dryer exhaust
ducts professionally inspected annually – and maintained as necessary.
CSIA points out that clothes dryers have historically either been located in basements or on the main floor of a
house and generally within a short distance from an outside wall. Because of these logistics, the danger of lint plugging
the exhaust duct has been minimal.
But in today’s complex and technologically sophisticated homes, many
clothes dryers could be located in the inner core of the house in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and even in hall closets.
These new locations mean dryers need to be vented longer distances and sometimes even with sharp turns and bends to accommodate
the structure of the home. These complicated systems make exhaust ducts harder to reach and also create more places where
lint can collect and pile up. Because lint is incredibly flammable it poses a fire risk.
The availability of natural gas clothes dryers is another reason why dryer exhaust duct maintenance is necessary.
If a gas clothes dryer is not properly vented, it can cause carbon monoxide to be forced back into the home and that can
In addition to lint obstructions or improper venting, bird’s
nests or rodents and bug infestations can also plug up a vent causing potential fire hazards or carbon monoxide poisonings.
Symptoms of a clogged clothes dryer exhaust duct include incomplete drying of clothes at normal temperatures and very hot
CSIA recommends that clothes dryer exhaust duct
inspections be performed by CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Duct Technicians. We have been formally tested in the proper inspection
and maintenance of clothes dryer exhaust ducts by CSIA. When we inspect a clothes dryer exhaust duct, we check to make sure
there are no obstructions and that the installation is correct. We also verify that the correct type of vent is in use.
For example, homes with plastic exhaust ducts are generally upgraded to metal exhaust ducts.
For more information,
see The Chimney Safety Institute of America.
The Three Levels of Inspection
The National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA)’s 211 (Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances) is the standard upon which
CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps base their services. This new standard now classifies chimney and venting system inspections
into three levels—Level I, Level II or Level III. Each level of inspection has a specific scope of work and specific
Level I Inspection
This inspection is recommended when the chimney and venting
system is easily accessible and when the homeowner is planning to maintain its current use. In general, this the level of
inspection performed in most homes. In a Level I inspection a certified chimney sweep verifies that the chimney structure
is sound and that the chimney is free of obstructions and combustible deposits, such as creosote.
The addition of a new home heating appliance or a change in the type of fuel a homeowner is
burning requires a Level II inspection. This inspection level is also required upon the sale or transfer of a property or
after an operating malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. The scope of a Level
II inspection includes that of the Level I inspection plus the inspection of accessible portions of the attics, crawl spaces
and basements. It may also include a performance test such as a smoke test or a pressure test and possibly an interior chimney
video inspection if recommended by the certified chimney sweep.
Level III Inspection
When a Level I or Level II inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without access to concealed
areas, a Level III inspection is recommended. This type of inspection confirms the proper construction and condition of
concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Level III inspections are generally necessary when investigating
an incident that has caused damage to a chimney or building, or where a hazard is detected and suspected.
the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fire Protection Association recommend yearly chimney inspections to help prevent fire and carbon monoxide poisonings.