Chimney maintenance and home safety for winter
The recent dip in temperatures overnight is seeing an increase in people using fireplaces, combustion heaters and gas or electrical heaters to keep warm.
With winter quickly approaching, now is a good time for households to have their flues and chimneys professionally inspected and cleaned to ensure they are corrosion-free and there is no soot or chemical build up.
Dirty or damaged flues, clogged chimneys, and unmaintained heating systems can result in fires that cause significant property damage and put lives at risk. The best way to reduce this risk is to prepare your home for the colder weather. Every year in regional SA, the CFS is responded to house fires caused by poor maintenance of heating systems, equipment failure, or items being placed too close to heat sources.
For your family’s safety, it is recommended that you have your chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned at least once a year, ideally at the start of winter. This should always be carried out using a qualified tradesperson, and as recommended by the manufacturer.
Other simple steps for safe home heating include:
- Installing a secure guard or fireproof screen around any open fire;
- Keeping the area around a heater or open fire clear of flammable materials, particularly synthetics, as these can easily melt and catch fire when they are too hot;
- Supervising children and pets around heaters and open fires, and ensuring matches and lighters are out of reach of children;
- Ensuring electric blankets and heaters are regularly maintained and replaced;
- Safely disposing of hot ashes - never place these in household bins, plastic buckets, or council bins; and
- Ensuring all open flames and heaters are extinguished/turned off before going to bed or leaving the house.
It is also important to ensure you have an appropriate number of working smoke alarms installed, so in the event of a fire, you can be alerted and safely evacuate your property in time.