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Thread: chimney fires

  1. #1
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    Default chimney fires

    I wanted to read up about chimney fires so I did a google search and found this article. What do you think about the information in it? Is it trustworthy and accurate?

    Got any other good links regarding chimney fires?

    Chimney Fires | DoItYourself.com

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    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
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    Default Re: chimney fires

    I'd say overall, the information is good and accurate... there are some minor points that are embelished a bit but, then again, that's the point of journalism.

    Over the last 10 years or so I've owned several differnet wood burning stoves, two pellet stoves, a gas insert in a masonry fireplace and a couple regular wood burning fireplaces.

    The thing the article mentions that is worth repeating over and over is that regular cleaning is absolutely crucial. On inspections it amazes me how many years people will go without even thinking of having the chimney or flue cleaned.

    The creosote can all be flammable and lead to a fire but it's really bad when it gets shiny and glossy looking. A chimney sweep once told me this was called 'stage 3' creosote.

    The article is in line with all the things I've ever heard about what causes build-up: burning wet wood, poor air flow - really, anything that allows the smoke to cool too much inside the flue.

    From an inspection standpoint you can't really see the inside of the flue but in most cases there will be signs of neglect visible from the top or bottom (or usually both).

    I have brushes and do my own cleaning every year (two or three times on the pellet stove due to ash build-up). Since we don't light fires and can't see inside of flues at inspections I'll usually coach my people pretty hard to have things cleaned and checked out unless the seller can provide proof it was done recently.

    One point I disagree with the article.... I don't worry a bit as I sit by my fire. I know everything is just fine.....


  3. #3
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    Exclamation Re: chimney fires

    Most of the technical information provided is spot on. The need for annual inspection should be considered a minimum requirement. Homeowners are now being advised by woodstove owners to inspect their flues very often--to the point of weekly or at least monthly for creosote buildup.

    There are other factors that can lead or contribute to chimney fires such as high Rh% in the home or depressurization but those are more complex.

    This piece was produced by the CSIA and thus, as Matt pointed out, there is a little bit of embellishment and journalism contained. The CSIA spent time and money producing this and should reap rewards. I would caution against one aspect though: "CSIA recommends that you call on certified chimney sweeps, since they are regularly tested on their understanding of the complexities of chimney and venting systems."

    What they are referring to is that Certified Chimney Sweeps must re-certify every 3 yrs. They have to accumulate enough CEUs or re-test. I think they finally just required a little bit of both. My point is, the "testing" is not a practical hands-on exam either for the initial certification or subsequent re-certs. but the exam us just a multiple choice exam on NFPA 211--the same old information yr. after yr. and it does not address the building codes.

    A base of information is good and the CSIA cert. provides this--a base, not an end result. Look for a pro that has other certifications, a history of continuiing education in many fields and through varied events. The highest certification for chimney inspection remains the Certified Fireplace Inspector program, which does involve much hands-on TRAINING and not just testing. Something to keep in mind not only with chimneys but all forms in home inspection.

    You can also point your clients to the International Assn. of Fireplace and Chimney Inspectors to locate a professional inspector near you: IAFCI : International Association of Fireplace & Chimney Inspectors : Professional Fireplace, Chimney & Venting Inspectors : Home

    BTW, I will be teaching a class at the 2009 Hearth, Patio and BBQ Assn.'s EXPO in Reno this coming March on Diagnosing and Curing Smoking Fireplaces.

    Warmest regards,
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  4. #4
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    Chicago, IL
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    Default Re: chimney fires

    Bob,

    All I could find at that link was a stubbed out site - is there a "locate a member page I messed"?

    Also, how if at all is this certification related to the F.I.R.E. certification?

    Finally, a while back there was a discussion of on-line or other non-classroom training for HIs that went beyond the introductory one-day class, is that still in the works?

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  5. #5
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    Smile education

    We're working on the membership locator page so stay tuned.

    As for online training, we are working on several projects but this is all done in our "free" time. Also, there is so much of this that simply does not lend itself to teach yourself formats such as books or online and must include some classroom instruction and hands-on instruction. Think of online as formign a foundation for higher education but not as an end to itself.

    Within IAFCI, there are various membership catagories, which are explained on the website. You, as a home inspector, can join but to join under the Certified Professional Inspector category requires several certifications such as NFI or CSIA but the full 5.5 day FIRE course is a requirement. There are also CEU requirements to maintain your membership status. Note, we accept all sorts of other training and certifications unlike many other organizations. Moreover, we ENCOURAGE other certs. and CEUs from as many varied sources as possible. As long as you can demonstrate the relevance to inspecting, it will be considered. We also do not require pre-approval for CEUs unlike other organizations. We feel this tends to inhibit people from taking CEU courses. For instance, you may take courses in arson scene recognition or forensic photography and have them count. Want to sit in on a mfrs. presentation at the local HVAC supply house? Just provide reasonable documentation of your attendance, what the course was about and how it applies to inspecting.
    HTH,
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: chimney fires

    Thanks for the confirmations on the validity of the information.


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