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How to check your chimney
Inspecting the fireplace flue is a dirty job. Wear old clothes, a hat and have the vacuum ready! When you’re geared up, begin to remove soot, debris and creosote from the flue.
Make sure your chimney is unobstructed by nature, including leaves, branches and bird nests. If you’re unable to see the top of the chimney, you may need to inspect from the roof. If you feel uncertain, it’s best to call a professional chimney sweeper.
Assess your firebox
Check for cracks, gaps, loosening joints and signs of wear in the lining of the firebox. If you can see the metal interior, it’s unsafe to light a fire. Hire a professional to repair your chimney.
If you’re unable to open or close your damper completely, it could be a sign of a damaged or dirty lever. A broken damper not only lets heat escape after the fire, it’s also unable to contain the fire to the fireplace. A professional will be able to tell you if it needs to be fixed or replaced.
Smoke stains are another indication that your chimney might not be in good working condition.
Inspect your chimney flue with a flashlight. If you find smoke stains on the ceiling or around the fireplace opening, it’s a sign that your flue or damper is letting smoke escape and can therefore let sparks escape as well. Call a fire-place professional to help repair your chimney.
Ensure your grate is the right size
Your firewood should sit on a metal grate that’s two-thirds the size of your fireplace.
The grate is a good indicator of how much firewood can safely burn.
Organise a chimney inspection
With fire safety, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. That is why most of these tips have ended with contacting a professional. The safest thing you can do is organise for a professional to inspect your chimney. They’ll suggest the necessary repairs, fixes and replacements. They’ll also give you the green light to light your fire.
When lighting a fire, it is crucial that you have a fire extinguisher nearby ready to contain the fire should anything happen. It’s important that the extinguisher is properly inspected to ensure it is working properly.
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to make sure your house and belongings are insured in the case of a fire. Luckily AAMI offers Home Building and Contents cover which can cover your building and contents if they’re damaged by an insured event.
Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. Go to www.aami.com.au for a copy. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.