Have your chimney, heat pump inspected before heating season

newspaperBefore trading in the warm days of summer for a toasty fall fire, be sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

“Your chimney should be cleaned and inspected by a licensed, reputable service each year,” said Jimmy Maass, safety manager for Virginia Farm Bureau. “Not only will they clean any debris or nests that birds, squirrels and other animals have left, but they should inspect the chimney for cracks, which can cause fire to spread from the chimney to your home.”

Keep the area around the hearth free of debris, decorations and flammable materials. Remove any branches, leaves or debris from the roof or anywhere else that could block the chimney.

“Use only seasoned and dry wood in fireplaces and wood-burning stoves,” Maass said. “Never leave a fire unattended, and keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.”

All firewood should be stacked at least 30 feet from the home. Do not use gasoline or other liquid fuels to start a fire, and never burn trash in a fireplace or wood stove. Now also is a good time to have your heat pump inspected.

“Have a reputable service company check your system to ensure that everything is working like it should,” Maass said. “This is not only safe, but can save you money on your energy bills.”

Also, check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are functioning properly. You should replace their batteries when changing clocks back to standard time and check the detectors on a monthly basis.

“Smoke detectors should be replaced after about 10 years, so if your detectors have been at work for longer than 10 years, you should consider replacing them,” Maass said.
Local fire departments frequently offer assistance with replacing and installing smoke detectors.

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