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Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair Blog

Safely Using Heaters in Your Home

“Heaters” can be all kinds of things but, from fireplace inserts to electric space heaters, they present a fire hazard and need to be safely used. If they can warm you up quickly, they do the same for other things, so space heaters need to be carefully positioned. If cozy fires can heat the room, even a little, imagine what they can do to the chimney above them, so fireplaces need clean chimneys.

Heater Safety - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep

Otherwise, it does not take long for the space heater to catch the drapes on fire and the fireplace to ignite the creosote. There are safety concerns with the use of every type of heater, whether inside or outside the home. Portable fire pits carry their own dangers and outdoor ovens get just as dirty as the ones inside.

Heating Up More than the Den

Obviously, heat from fireplaces raises enormous risks, hopefully up the chimney and out of the house. When chimneys are not kept clean and in good working condition by CSIA certified sweeps, those risks remain in both your chimney and your home. If obstructions block updrafts or creosote accumulates unnoticed, the “family room heater” can become a deadly weapon.

In addition to risks of fire with improper use, even space heaters can stir things to life in air you do not want to breathe. This gets compounded when apparent vents in bathrooms and kitchens actually go nowhere except the crawl space above them. Those need to be checked by venting professionals when they clean your other air ducts and vents.

Remember All Your Heaters

From mere conveniences to basic, built-in parts of your house, “heaters” pose many of the risks of fire whether or not they involve it. Their portability increases the likelihood that small heaters will end up too close to the wrong thing and bring on real heat. The big guys, from gas furnaces to wood fireplaces, are especially dangerous “heaters” – because too often we forget the danger they can bring.

By Ronald Caillais on March 27th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Safely Using Heaters in Your Home

Safety Around Fire Pits

It is that time of year! – when warmer weather draws us outdoors and keeps us there for barbeques in the still chilly evenings. This almost universal love of eating and relaxing outdoors with friends explains the soaring popularity of fire pits. Warm and attractive, they make perfect portable outdoor heaters…but they do not come without some fire dangers.

Fire Pit Safety - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep

Long at the center of outdoor gatherings, fire has always brought people together, whether around bonfires or wood stoves. Now fire comes in pretty outdoor packaging, with a huge array of choices for consumers, including full-on outdoor fireplaces. Far cheaper and simpler fire pits are the ones stealing the home show, raging with popularity and small, controlled fires.

There’s the Rub

That “small, controlled” part is essential to safety around fire pits, since the last thing you want is to start a much bigger fire. That can happen for several reasons:

  • placement too close to flammables
  • too much fuel for the fire in the pit
  • failure to put the lid on it
  • sudden gusts of wind that lift sparks through screens
  • pit fires left burning unattended

As much as we like to think that we are careful when we build fires outdoors, entertaining our friends distracts us from lots of things. We start the fire and run indoors to spice-rub the steaks, forgetting to specifically ask someone to keep an eye on the pit. Our friends, however, are playing darts and shooting hoops and nobody is really minding the fire.

Slings and Arrows

It only takes a spark to start the fire you did not intend, so never walk away from an unattended fire. Run the risk of a few verbal barbs and designate a pit minder if you are busy. ‘Tis nobler to be a drag than completely irresponsible, so put up with the ribbing you might get and play it safe. When the fire is no longer small and controlled within your pit, your risks rise with the flames.

By Ronald Caillais on March 20th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on Safety Around Fire Pits
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