Top Ten Tips
- Chimney Safety Institute of America
To aid in the prevention of
chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion and to help
keep heating appliances and fireplaces functioning
properly, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)
offers the following safety tips:
1. Get an annual chimney check. Have chimneys
inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a
qualified professional chimney service technician. This
reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings
due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.
2. Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves
at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.
3. Install a chimney cap to keep debris and
animals out of the chimney.
4. Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in
wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well seasoned wood that
has been split for a minimum of six months - one year
and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never
burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace
or wood stove.
5. Build it right. Place firewood or fire logs at
the rear of the fireplace on a supporting grate. To
start the fire, use kindling or a commercial
firelighter. Never use flammable liquids.
6. Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible
material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove,
could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36”
away from the hearth.
7. Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a
screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks
that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or
8. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries
in the spring and fall. When you change your clocks for
Daylight Savings Time, remember to check your batteries.
9. Never leave a fire unattended. Before turning
in for the evening, be sure that the fire is maintained. Supervise children and pets closely around
wood stoves and fireplaces.
10. The CSIA recommends annual inspections
performed by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. These
chimney sweeps have earned the industry's most respected
credential by passing an intensive examination based on
fire codes, clearances and standards for the
construction and maintenance of chimney and venting
systems. The National Fire Protection Association also
recommends that all chimneys are inspected on an annual
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