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10 Do or Don't Items of Fire Safety Including Fireplace and Chimney

Each year I hear about multiple house fires at the start of winter. Almost all could have been avoided if the residents took the time to do a few safety checks and/or used common sense. Two recent fires that destroyed homes were due to improper disposal of smoking materials and fireplace/woodstove ashes.
 If you have a standard fireplace as shown in above photo, you can do some quick checks before using it each year. Most fireplaces have all the basics components. A foundation, hearth, firebox, smoke shelf, throat, outside air intake, flues, shell, profile, damper, clean out, ash dump, chimney, rake, flashing, cap. Some have a thimble aka round flue where a woodstove is connected.
 If you don't feel comfortable doing a check yourself, then hire a chimney sweep or a mason with experience in building fireplaces.
 If you do want to do your own check first, here are some tips to follow. You can do a basic check from the ground, so no need to climb any ladders or get on the roof if you don't like heights. Get a good flashlight.
(1) Go outside and look for cracks from top to bottom. Cracks can be an indication of another problem. Maybe a lightning ... more

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