That cool Autumn chill has returned to the Okanagan and we all know winter isn’t too far away. Fireplace season is about to be in full swing. Perhaps, you are in the middle of chopping and stacking wood for your wood burning stove or have already turned on your natural gas fireplace. Either way, regardless of which type of fireplace you have, C4U Inspections can visit your residential or commercial space and ensure that your fireplace is up to code. There are very specific regulations on the size of fireplaces, hearth requirements and chimney components that have to be correctly installed to keep your home and your family safe. Our team of professional home inspectors thoroughly knows the BC codes and what to look for inside and outside of your home or office.
Wood-burning Fireplace Safety
A home inspector will double check your brick and masonry work within your wood burning fireplace to see if there are any cracks, fissures, loose bricks etc. present. Checking all venting, dampers and the creosote build up within the chimney is also vital. New homeowners and those who have no history on the status of their fireplace and chimney need to have all the facts prior to lighting their first fire. If your chimney has caked on layers of combustible creosote from years of being used without annual cleaning maintenance aka “chimney sweeping,” you are dealing with a severe fire hazard. It is essential to clean your chimney with the right size of wire-bristle brushes or hire someone to do it once to twice a year, depending on how much you use it during the winter.
Many households light a fire in the fall and keep it burning until spring, while others simply have an occasional fire. It is essential to ensure that all components of your wood burning fireplace and chimney are safe and secure to protect your home, your yard and the neighbours’. C4U Inspections in Kelowna will also inspect the roof to check the flashing around the top of the chimney. Windstorms, hailstorms and shovelling snow off flat roofs can accidentally cause damage and rusted or missing components may be noted.
Gas Fireplace Safety
While it can be tempting to simply turn on your fireplace, it is imperative to know if everything is up to par. Cracked glass on the front is extremely dangerous for example and needs to be replaced. A registered gas contractor should handle all of your repairs and replacement items to keep your family safe and secure.
Educating Your Family and Guests
While it is obvious that fireplaces produce copious amounts of heat, parents and grandparents need to remain vigilant when kids or visitors arrive. The glass insert on fireplaces can get up to 200 degrees Celsius and can take almost an hour to cool down. Wood fireplaces on the other hand often have a brick, stone or tile hearth. This can have wickedly sharp corners or be slippery. Many people rely on foam pool noodles and similar materials to soften the edges with small kids. Everyone who is in the home that will be using the fireplace needs to know how to turn it on and off, how to open the damper when lighting a wood-burning fire and ideally, how to use a fire extinguisher in the event of an emergency. Excessive wind or storms can lead to a down draft and you may smell smoke in your home temporarily. Not opening the damper properly will quickly fill the room with smoke upon lighting the fire and lead to your smoke alarm blaring.
Double Check Your Smoke Detectors
C4U Inspections reminds everyone who is planning on enjoying internal fires this year to double check that their smoke detectors are working correctly. Change the batteries and look at the date on your smoke detectors. It is recommend to have an alarm on every floor of the building and to replace them every 10 years or sooner if they are malfunctioning. Fires often burn through the night on cold winter evenings and it is imperative to protect your family and your home with properly working smoke detectors while everyone is asleep.