The web is a wonderful place to get information. However, most people know to take what they read with a grain of salt. If you Google fireplace, chimney, woodstove, you will find all kinds of information by people who claim to be “experts”. As you probably know, a lot of this information is incorrect.
Today’s homeowner is bombarded with more information than ever before. Keep in mind that they only know how to light a fire in their fireplace or stove yet some can’t do this right.
This year I have seen many articles and interviews about home fires related to woodstoves, chimneys and fireplaces. Many times they blame the fireplace or chimney when it is most likely the homeowner that caused the problem. How often has your customer made changes to their stove or fireplace since you were there last year? Can you tell that they made this change? Do they have Christmas decorations hanging from the fireplace mantel or soclose that it may go “poof” when they light it? What I’m getting at is if the homeowner makes a change that causes a home fire do you have the “before” photo to protect you?
There are zillions of “experts” on the net that can tell you how to “makeover” your fireplace facing. Are they code experts? Sometimes, but not likely. A homeowner that reads an articlethat is correct may still make changes in what they are doing, unwittingly adding combustibles into their project.
It is so important to take lost of photos to document your visit.For example, A homeowner has a house fire related to a sparkigniting a pile of wood next to their garage. If the home has a spark arrestor cap and you have documented photos it may lead the inspectors to look at another source or ask how the homeowner removed ashes from the fireplace. Many homeowners have caused home or garage fires this year from putting ashes in everything from a cardboard box to a bag and set them outside – one even put it on a woodpile.
So take photos of everything. The approach to the house, where your ladder is set against the chimney, the chimney, the fireplace/woodstove, as well as keeping your photos of scanning the flue. With today’s digital cameras you can afford to take lots of photos to document your work. The camera is an important tool in your aresenal. It’s just as your cleaning equipment. Use it wisely.
2010 Lindemann Chimney Supply