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Fire hazards a concern during cold snaps
Chimney fires are all too common in New Hampshire and are often the result of improper installation of new chimneys and stove pipes, or the lack of regular maintenance.Sarah Mair, who runs Black Moose Chimney and Stove in Antrim with her husband, Matt, said that without regular maintenance, creosote, an oily, flammable substance left behind in the chimney after a fire, builds up and can become a hazard if exposed to high temperatures.
But maintenance is only part of the problem. In many homes, improper chimney or stove pipe installation can be devastating for homeowners. Racicot said he sees many instances where pipes aren't connected properly, the stainless steel cap on the chimney is not installed right or isn't the correct distance from the flue to draw the smoke out of the house, or the liner inside the chimney has deteriorated with age and needs to be replaced.
"Clearances, pipe lengths, the type of material can all affect the safety so people need to research, follow the codes and the recommendations from the manufacturers before installing their own chimneys."
Firefighters aren't fans of space heaters, which if used improperly can easily result in fires, but there are ways to use them safely, said state Fire Marshal William Degnan.
Keeping a space heater away from combustible materials, including furniture, wastepaper baskets and curtains can help avoid problems. But because space heaters can be moved around, they can easily come in contact with flammable materials.
Pelham Fire Chief Jim Midgley said that using liquid space heaters indoors, such as kerosene heaters, can lead to carbon-monoxide buildup, which can kill people.
"It is recommended that all homes have carbon-monoxide detectors and smoke detectors on each floor of the home," said Midgley. "Carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors save lives every year in this country; that's a proven fact."
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