While there have been several days already with temperatures in the 30s, Wednesday morning’s snowfall certainly made it feel colder out. Pella Fire Chief Doug Van Gorkom says local residents who use fireplaces or other wood-burners to help heat their homes should make sure their chimneys are clear of a substance that can build up inside.
“It’s called ‘pitch’ [or creosote] and it’s something that comes off of the wood that they’re burning and builds on the inside walls of the chimney,” says Van Gorkom. “When it starts to burn, sometimes the chimneys get so hot that it will start to burn the wood structure around it. Chimney fires can be a very hot fire, plus sometimes they’ll send sparks out of [the top] of the chimney that will catch the roof on fire as well.”
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends chimneys be inspected at least once a year, and cleaned if there is one-eighth of an inch or more soot build-up.