The idea of renovating a home can be exciting! Being able to put your own spin and taste into the footprint and aesthetics of a house so that it can truly be called home. Of course, that gives you the perfect opportunity to decide what you should do with that fireplace! You want to make your home beautiful, so why would you want to exclude the piece that is supposed to help centralize the whole home, the fireplace. In doing so you want to make sure that the risk of the chimney causing a home fire is obsolete.
As a chimney company, we know all too well how often this desire occurs. We also know how fast home owners can become overwhelmed with all of the details and options. There are so many different types of fireplaces and countless companies that say they can do the work. How do you know what to choose and how do you decide who to hire for the work? A good answer to both questions is to consult with a CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified chimney sweep. These certified technicians are kept up to date on all of the code changes and follow the most recent code NFPA 211. By understanding these codes and being CSIA certified, the technician will be able to determine if there is a potential risk of your chimney causing a home fire.
Whether you are just refreshing your current fireplace, or you would like to install a whole new unit, always be sure that any modification is done to correct standards and code. Within the past month there was a fire in a home located in Kansas City, Missouri that could have been prevented entirely if the fireplace had been built accurately and met safety code. Investigators later discovered that the fire occurred because there were missing mortar joints between the flue tiles of the chimney. This created gaps which ultimately led to the surrounding combustibles such as wood studs and insulation to be heated so much it caught flame. This mistake resulted in their chimney causing a home fire which resulted in nearly $150,000 in damage.
Another home in Shawnee, Kansas experienced a similar tragedy. They had a different type of fireplace installed into the home with a metal type flue. However, the contractor did not allow enough space or clearance to combustibles between the flue and the wooden frame of the chimney. The framing got too hot causing a fire, that was luckily put out a shortly after. Even though the fire lasted only a few minutes, it caused smoke damage as well as finishing and framing damage which resulted in over $20,000 of repair costs.
While remodeling your home can be a great deal of fun, make sure that your contractor is hiring a trained professional to install or renovate the fireplaces in your home. This way you will have peace of mind knowing that your fireplace is hazard free and your family and home is safe while enjoying the warm fire. If you would like to know more about home fires, read this article by Marge Padgitt.