Our Company Blog

Prepare, Plan & Practice

Prepare, Plan & Practice

Fire Safety and Preparedness at Home

Every year, fires have claimed the lives of over three thousand Americans and have managed to cause injury to around seventeen thousand. A simple flame can turn into a blazing fire, changing a families’ life forever. This can be attributed to many things, including creosote build-up, blockages in your chimney and unsafe burning practices and materials. Always remember, the safest, most efficient burn is one with dry, seasoned firewood. Burning anything else increases risk and creosote buildup.

There are many family fire safety tips that are recommended by numerous fire safety agencies, but here are two of the most important precautionary measures of all – working fire alarms and a plan in case of emergency. Don’t let forgetfulness be the reason your home and family are put in harm’s way.

You put your family and home at risk when you fail to maintain working fire alarms and an escape plan.

You put your family and home at risk when you fail to maintain working fire alarms and an escape plan.

Fire alarms are required on each level of the home and in each bedroom. Of course, no matter how many alarms you have, unless your batteries are working, they will not be able to do their job. Experts recommend that you check your batteries each time you “spring ahead” and “fall behind.”

Second, a fire escape plan is a necessity. The National Fire Protection Association provides a model for how to create this essential document for your home. Their website is also chock full of fantastic resources for the entire family. Just as batteries are key for alarms…practice is key for plans. Make sure all members of your family know what to do in case of a fire. Everyone needs to know to stay low to avoid harmful smoke, stop, drop and roll if clothing catches fire and to check doorknobs before exiting. The family also needs to know where to meet outside while waiting for firefighters.

When you cover these two critical bases, you can rest a bit easier knowing that your family is well-prepared. Call today to have your chimneys and fireplaces inspected and swept by the certified professionals of Weststar Chimney. Having been in business in San Diego for more than a decade, we are ready to take one worry off your plate. Don’t forget — the best way to avoid tragedy is to prepare rigorously.

 

Stinky Fireplace

Your home is a gathering place for your family and friends to come together as one, but what do you do when there is an odor filling the home that you just can not get rid of?   When you realize it is your chimney making this smell, air fresheners and candles will not be enough.  Although some odors are normal, there are others that indicate a serious problem with your draft. That is when you call in the professionals at Weststar Chimney Sweeps.

If your damper is open when you light the fire and you still have odor, it is time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

If your damper is open when you light the fire and you still have odor, it is time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

The first thing an inspector will ask is when you had your last chimney sweep.  One of the most common causes for chimney odor is the build-up of creosotes inside the chimney.  The resulting smell is usually worse in the summer due to an increased humidity, when it rains, or when the air conditioner is running inside of the home.  An experienced professional can have the job done quickly without any mess inside of your home.  While this will help relieve most of the odors, it will not eliminate all of them.  The longer creosotes sit in the chimney, the deeper they sink into the construction of the chimney.  One way smells are allowed in you home is the air pressure that forces them inside.  When the air pressure is changed the smell will become more or less apparent.  Old parts or damper and exhaust vent closures can cause this as well as new equipment such as a furnace or water heater, or new windows.

There are ways to fix the negative air brought in by your chimney and if one method does not, you may need to do a combination of things.  First, if your fire damper s not in use, you should keep it closed.  Unless there is a problem with the seal, this should solve you problem.  Also, some people recommend having a glass screen installed so that air cannot pass through into the home.  Lastly, if you have other appliances running in the home change their airflow, as they all will be working against each other.  These tips should not only get rid of the odor, but also keep your name clear of the stinky homeowners list.