Cutting The Risk Of Commercial Chimney Fires: What Business Owners Can Do

Chimney fires are responsible for hundreds of house fires each year, but these devastating events are not restricted to residential housing. In fact, any building equipped with a wood burning fireplace or wood heating stove is at risk of a chimney fire, including restaurants and bar and grill establishments that use wood-fired grills or smokers for preparing food, as well as warehouses, mechanic shops, retail, and business spaces. The good news is that many commercial chimney fires can be prevented by making some changes in how the chimneys are used and maintained. If you are a business owner who would like to reduce the risk of a chimney fire in your building, the following tips are a great place to begin.

Utilize a rigorous inspection schedule

Local fire codes often recommend or require that commercial properties have periodic chimney and vent inspections as a way to reduce the risk of fire. Commercial property owners who have fireplaces, wood stoves, or wood-fired food preparation equipment should start by examining their current inspection schedule to see if it can be improved. While an annual inspection is typically the recommended standard, businesses with higher-use chimneys may want to add more frequent inspections. 

Beef up sprinkler systems and alarms 

Business owners should also inspect their sprinkler and fire alarm systems to make sure that they are still adequate for their current level of usage and building dimensions. If current sprinkler systems are several years old or no longer correctly sized for your business, immediate upgrades may be needed to make sure they are sufficient in the event of a fire. It is also wise to examine smoke and heat detection equipment and alarms and make sure they are working properly and correctly located to provide the earliest possible warning that heat levels or smoke from a smoldering fire is occurring.  

Make sure that chimney cleaning schedules reflect actual usage

Businesses who have fireplaces or other wood-fired appliances in their businesses may have initially installed them for decorative purposes or for supplemental heat but now find they are using them much more frequently. When this happens, creosote and layers of soot and ash can build up much more quickly inside the chimneys and flues, creating a great risk of a chimney fire. To safely balance this heavier usage, business owners will want to add more frequent cleaning to their maintenance plan.  

For additional information on chimney inspections, cleaning, and maintenance, contact a reputable commercial chimney cleaning contractor in your area. They can help you determine any problem areas you may be facing regarding chimney care and maintenance and assist you in finding the best possible solutions.