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Maintaining Your Chimney and Outdoor Vents

Maintaining Your Chimney and Outdoor Vents

Lighting a fire can offer you and your family relaxation on a cold day. However, you also need to think how buildup in your home's outdoor vents can expose you to risks from carbon monoxide buildups and fires.

It isn't just fireplaces that require outdoor ventilation. Common appliances like furnaces, water heaters and even clothes dryers need a way to discard heat and pollutants. All of these outdoor vents function similarly, and need to be maintained regularly to keep your home safe.

Keep these precautions in mind when maintaining your home's chimney and outdoor vents:

  • Make sure that all of your appliances use separate flues or ducts to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Inspect the metal linings of your chimney and outdoor vents for cracks that could leak dangerous gases and other pollutants.
  • Check your clothes dryer's vent for lint buildups that could present a fire hazard.
  • Have your chimney inspected at least once a year to ensure it isn't damaged or blocked by a buildup of creosote, an oily residue that's highly combustible.
  • If possible, inspect the upper opening of your chimney to see if it's blocked by debris like leaves or animal nests.
  • Contact a certified specialist if you need to clean, repair or replace your chimney.

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