The holidays are fast approaching, and the Washington Post reports in its Nov. 5, 2014 edition on tips to consumers in an article titled, “Company’s coming: Is your house hospitality-ready?” written by Jura Koncius. The article is well-researched and contains a bevy of tips that range from plumbing to getting the guest bedroom ready. Of course, at the Chimney Safety Institute of America, we are most concerned that homeowners look forward to using their fireplaces and wood stoves, as long as they know there’s less risk in its operation after having a proper inspection. CSIA Director of Education Ashley Eldridge, who is quoted in the article, had a great conversation with Jura. We also sent her helpful material and some photographs of fireplaces done by our awesome certified chimney sweeps, such as Benjamin Cross of Media, Pennsylvania.
Here’s a snippet of the article that features the part about fireplaces. (Click here to read the full story on the Post website.)
Imagine lighting the first cozy fire of the season Thanksgiving afternoon as the aroma of roasting turkey fills the house and guests start arriving. If this is a scenario in your future, lay in a supply of firewood and have your fireplace inspected. Now.
An inspection ($100 to $300) can clarify whether you need your chimney swept or repaired, says Ashley Eldridge, director of education for the Chimney Safety Institute of America (www.csia.org), a nonprofit group that also oversees a certification program for chimney sweeps. “The inspection is a snapshot of your chimney that could turn up any number of things: birds, raccoons, squirrels, branches, leaves, spider webs or basketballs,” says Eldridge, who has cleaned White House fireplaces for two presidents. “Or they might find water damage in your masonry.”
Eldridge has advice for proper and safe fireplace use. He suggests checking your fireplace damper, screen and glass doors to see they are working properly. Know where your fire extinguisher is, and make sure it is fully charged and ready to use: He recommends a five-pound model with a flexible hose. And don’t ever burn wrapping paper or pizza boxes in your fireplace, as this can rapidly cause large flames to spill out of the fireplace or go up the chimney. Hopefully, you won’t be ordering a large mushroom-and-pepperoni on Thanksgiving.
If you are reading this and interested in contacting one of our CSIA certified chimney sweeps for your inspection, look at csia.org/search and use our zip-code finder.
We appreciate the Washington Post reporter who did such a thorough job of understanding the complex makeup of a chimney and fireplace prior to the publication.