Chimney, vent inspections recommended prior to installation of new hearth appliance

In an effort to protect the public against unnecessary fire and carbon monoxide poisonings, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that homeowners installing a new hearth appliance this fall or winter have their chimney and venting systems inspected before the installation process begins. “Every hearth appliance has specific venting requirements,” says Greg Williamson, executive director of the CSIA. “Homeowners should always have a chimney sweep determine if their chimney and venting system can handle the addition of the new hearth appliance or if modifications to the system are necessary.” Throughout the country this year, many people will be replacing or upgrading an old hearth appliance that is currently vented through an existing chimney and venting system. For example, they might add a set of gas logs to a wood-burning fireplace insert or install a new wood, gas or pellet fireplace insert in place of an old wood burning fireplace insert. Or, they might replace an old wood stove for a pellet, gas stove or EPA Certified wood stove. If the existing chimney and venting system is not adequate or is in poor condition, installing a new hearth appliance can result in carbon monoxide seeping back into a home. It can also result in a chimney fire or lead to the poor performance of the new hearth appliance. Both the CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend yearly chimney inspections to help prevent fire and carbon monoxide poisonings. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 1996 there were 23,600 residential fires in the United States originating in chimneys, fireplaces and residential heating equipment. These fires resulted in 230 personal injuries, 130 deaths and $184.4 million in property damage. The CSIA also recommends that homeowners have inspections performed by chimney sweeps that are CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps’. These certified chimney sweeps have earned the industry’s most respected credential by passing an intensive testing process based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimney and venting systems. CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps also have extensive knowledge of the combustion processes of chimneys, fireplaces (both masonry and pre-fabricated), central furnaces and all hearth appliances’such as gas, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves and fireplace inserts. They are also well versed in the characteristics of all fuels available for home heating such as wood, gas and pellets. This knowledge allows them to expertly diagnose and solve chimney and venting problems. The CSIA, established in 1988, is a non-profit, educational institution, dedicated to educating the public about the prevention of chimney and venting safety hazards. For more information on chimney and venting safety, or for a list of CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps, call (800) 536-0118 or visit the CSIA web site at www.csia.org. The CSIA is located at 8752 Robbins Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268.

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