Saturday, March 7, 2015

The power went out but...is it safe to use the fireplace?

During a heavy snow storm, the power went out. Our furnace went silent and the temperature immediately dropped.

I quickly rolled up a few newspapers, placed several dry logs on top, and lit up our fireplace. Soon, my wife and two daughters gathered before the fireplace and to this day, they recall that night with a smile. Even when the power returned several hours later, we shut the lights off and continued to enjoy our fire.

Like everything else, our winters are evolving. Whether it's climate change or something cyclical, winter has become colder and snowier. This year in particular not only have the temperatures dropped so drastically, but many of us have been stunned by consecutive snow storms that make life less than fun.

Storm warnings now come with the additional information of potential power failure. These warnings cannot be taken lightly. Well pumps, furnaces, boilers, and most appliances are rendered useless by power failures. This new type of winters has prompted many to purchase, install, and maintain costly generators as a precaution, but if you are not a generator owner, there's still a way you can keep your family warm until power is restored.

Most homes in New England have a fireplace. Many have wood burners as well. That aforementioned night when we lost power, I didn't hesitate to use the fireplace. After all, I had it inspected and serviced in the fall, and I knew it was safe and ready to use. We were prepared.

That was not the case with two other households which made the news that
week.


"Don't wait and find out you have a problem when you most need that fire" when you most need that fire."

In one instance, the fireplace flue was blocked by a bird nest and the smoke rolled back into the home, forcing the family out in the cold until the fumes cleared.

The other household however, sustained damage from a chimney fire. Their wood stove pipes and flue had not been cleaned and accumulated creosote within ignited.
Both of these cases never had to happen.


Even if you decide burning wood is too much work or you just don't feel like using the fire place or the wood stove, a bad winter storm causing a power failure will force you to change your mind. Before you strike that match, you must be certain the flues are clear and safe to use, and only a professional from a reputable chimney service company can give you that peace of mind.

Don't wait and find out you have a problem when you most need that fire.

Professional chimney specialists like us know what to look for in a flue system. We have the training and experience to know how to assess creosote threats and how to remove them. The key word being professional.

Do not fall for some cold call from a less than known service offering you a cheap special. Professional chimney sweeps actually hold credentials earned through education in several aspects of fire prevention, smoke dynamics, water damage, masonry, metal flue systems, and other fields they must keep current in order to serve the public.

It's not a cleaning service. It's a SAFETY business, and reputable companies like Paul's Chimney Cleaning and Restoration are committed to providing you the peace of mind and the confidence to go ahead and light up a warming fire if the power goes down.


collaboration from Javier Robayo

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