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Is your fireplace safe? Chimney expert offers tips

6:51 PM, Dec 16, 2013   |    comments
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Photo courtesy: Becky Vargo, Grand Haven Tribune

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- If you have a wood-burning fireplace you experts say you should have inspected to avoid the possibility of a chimney fire.

David Mennega from Acadia Chimney and Stone says first make sure the inside of the fireplace or firebox is fireproof. "It gets super hot. You get up to 2,000 degrees of heat in there. The brick needs to be able to take that." That means no cracks or holes. David's currently inspecting his own fireplace. "So, I've got a hole in the brick. Missing fire mortar, that's a weak spot, so we're going to have to fill that in."

Next, David makes sure the chimney is free of creosote, a flammable tar that comes from wood smoke. He says there are products that claim to remove it. "But, I haven't come across any products that are that good."

David sweeps the inside of the chimney. It's not too bad, but there is some build up. "The more it builds up, the more susceptible it is to catch on fire."

If you use your fireplace occasionally, David says you should get it inspected every two to three years. "And the people who use it for heat, then every year."

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