When we talk about chimney safety, the most common issues are usually the risk of fires, and the dangers of carbon monoxide. Creosote is not the only cause of chimney fires, as the height of the structure makes it a good target for lightning. Lightning strikes account for more than 22,000 home fires each year according to the National Fire Protection Agency.
While the exterior of the chimney is mortar and brick, it can still be damaged by lightning. Frequent signs of lightning strikes are holes in the structure or missing bricks. Even the chimney’s liner is not immune to lightning strikes. Here are a few tips that will keep your chimney safe during this period.
- Get your chimney inspected regularly. A chimney sweep can quickly spot damaged sections of the chimney during an inspection. He will also be able to tell if you had a previous chimney fire. Carrying out the necessary repairs will be the next step.
- If your house is hit by lightning, contact the fire department just to be safe. Afterwards, have a chimney sweep inspect the chimney for damage.
- Talk to your insurance provider. Your home insurance policy may provide coverage for chimney damage. Go over the details of your policy with a company representative.
- Look for signs of damage. You can carry out your own basic inspection to make sure that your chimney is in the best shape. Look around the area of the chimney for loose bricks or bits of mortar on the ground. Check the structure for cracks or holes, or bricks that appear to be loose.
- Wait before using the chimney. Even if there was no fire after a lightning strike, this does not mean that the chimney is safe to use. Do not use it until after the sweep inspects it and gives you the go ahead.
It is possible to have a fire in the chimney without realizing it. Small fires occur in chimneys every year, and most homeowners do not realize this until the sweep shows them the evidence. If you see signs of damage to the chimney, keep away from it until the repairs are done. Carry out repairs early to avoid further weakening of the structure. This will lower your repair costs as well, and in the winter your chimney will be safe to use.
Our chimney services extend well beyond Drexel Hill and into most townships, towns, and cities along the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to schedule a consultation, chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, or dryer vent cleaning.