Jay McPhee, of Extreme Clean, is urging people to make sure
they get their chimney checked and cleaned at least once a
year to minimise the risk of a chimney fire. Photo by
Get your chimney checked and cleaned before winter to
stop it catching fire and damaging your home.
That is the message the Fire Service is pushing, after
brigades attended 25 chimney fires in Otago-Southland in the
last three months.
East Otago Area Fire risk management officer Michael Harrison
said each chimney fire had the potential to set a house on
fire, which was why it was ''vital'' chimneys were checked
and cleaned at least once a year.
''The main cause of chimney fires is people not getting them
cleaned. It's really important that you get your chimney
cleaned before winter.
"If you haven't had your chimney cleaned yet, it is
recommended you get it done as soon as possible. It can do a
lot of damage to your home,'' he said.
Warning signs that your chimney is dangerous include smoke
filling up the room instead of escaping properly or the fire
not burning as well as it usually does.
This could be due to a build up of soot and/or creosote, an
object like paper or a bird's nest stuck in the chimney or
your chimney could be faulty.
Its mortar might have broken down, bricks might be dislodged,
the flue corroded or the ''hat'' might have collapsed.
Mr Harrison said the actual number of chimney fires was
probably much higher, as many were not reported.
''The colder months are an extremely dangerous time for fires
in the home. If you suspect your chimney is not working as
efficiently as it used to, get a professional to check it
thoroughly and repair any damage,'' he said.
It was also a good time to make sure smoke alarms were
working, he said.