National Fire Prevention Week

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Author – Oliver Beauchemin

National Fire Prevention Week – October 6 – October 12

During this week we are reminded that it is time to have the chimneys in our homes and offices inspected and cleaned if needed.

Frequently, we hear stories of homeowners who attempt to take on this project by themselves. While we think it is great to be a do-it-yourselfer, there are some projects best left to the professionals.

After all, it is the professional who has the right tool for the right job. It is not sufficient to head off to the local hardware store and buy some chimney cleaning brushes and some rods to attach them to. There are different kinds of chimney liners and they do not all use the same type of chimney brush.

Moreover, in a clay tile liner, using the wrong brush can create more problems than can be solved.

A few years ago, I was speaking with a friend who is a fireman and we were talking about cleaning wood stove chimneys. My friend told me that he knew how to do this and did not need a professional chimney sweep. The very next day, the headline in the local paper was about a home completely destroyed by a chimney fire – it was my friend’s home!

I was really embarrassed to meet him several days later. After all, what can you say to a good friend who just lost his home? Certainly, “I warned you” or “I told you so” is not the best thing to say, especially when you, yourself, are not sure you did an adequate job of explaining the reason for hiring a chimney professional. The problem was solved, however, when my friend greeted me by saying, “I should have listened to you.”

So remember this little story when someone you know is planning on cleaning their own chimney. As Plato said, “Just because you are an expert in one thing, does not mean you are an expert in all things.”

~ Oliver Beauchemin

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