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BWGFES Fire Safety Tip of the Month

NOVEMBER: Fireplace and Chimney Safety
PH-Fire nov21
Town of BWG Photo

It’s the time of year when we look forward to cozy nights at home, but don’t use your fireplace until you make sure it’s ready for the season. Poorly maintained fireplaces and chimneys can pose a serious risk. Follow the steps below to keep your home and family safe.


  • Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing and maintaining your fireplace or appliance. If you do not have instructions, call the manufacturer.
  • The Ontario Fire Code requires homeowners to maintain the safety of their chimneys and inspect them at least once a year. Your chimney could have a problem you cannot see. If in doubt, consult a WETT (Wood Energy Technical Training) certified chimney sweep.
  • Check stovepipes and connections and ensure screws are located at every joint. Also look for leaching (dark staining or white powder) at every joint. This could be a sign of chimney trouble - consult a WETT certified chimney sweep.
  • Creosote can form quickly and is a major cause of chimney fires. Check chimney and flue pipes often and clean when necessary - never let creosote or soot build up.
  • If the wall is very hot, it could be a sign of improper installation of the chimney or stove pipe. Check with a WETT certified chimney sweep.
  • A rain cap should be installed on top of all metal and masonry chimneys. If you have a spark screen around the chimney cap, inspect it regularly for blockage.
  • Watch for smoke coming into the room. This could indicate a blockage in the chimney or a faulty damper control mechanism.
  • Keep combustibles safely away from your appliance. Always use a properly fitting screen for your fireplace.
  • Your heating appliance, flue pipes and chimney can deteriorate over time. Look for corrosion or rust stains on the outer shell of a metal chimney and check for bulges or corrosion in its liner. Loose bricks, crumbling mortar, broken liners, dark stains or white powder indicate problems with masonry chimneys. These should be fixed immediately by a qualified mason.

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