A primary care physician - for your chimney?

The new healthcare law requires everyone to have a primary care physician.  Reflecting on the last 50 years of my life, I only remember going to a doctor when I was really sick. In fact up until five years ago, I still didn’t have a primary care physician. 

Chimney sweep installing chimney liner

In 2008 I had back-to-back heart attacks within seven days of each other.  The need for regular medical checkups was heard, understood and acknowledged, HUA!

In March of 1978. I was at the Key Bridge Marriot in Alexandria, VA attending a presentation by Eva Horton.

As a girl growing up in Norway, Eva understood the need for chimney cleaning and preventing chimney fires.  The late 70’s brought an energy crisis to the U.S. and, people turned to wood burning as an alternate fuel. Eva was the U.S. importer of Jotul stoves from Norway. There were no professional chimney sweeps in the United States. The theme of the presentation was… We are building a new industry in America!

The first chimney sweeps became the emergency medical responders for chimney fires.  The public understood if you burned wood, you had better get a chimney sweep out to protect your chimney.  There were plenty of chimney fires and plenty of people turning to wood burning.

The leaders of the chimney service industry however, soon discovered there was a lot more education needed on the part of chimney professionals and the public. The greatest use of chimneys in America was for gas and oil appliances. Extreme dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty chimneys were on the rise.

In the mid 80’s the National Fire Protection Association enacted new guidelines to their code and standards for chimneys and vents, NFPA211.  The standard stated “all chimneys should be inspected and cleaned when necessary on an annual basis.” 

By the mid 90’s the public’s love affair with wood burning stoves had faded. 

The demand for chimney cleaning service soon declined as well. 

However, the need for chimney inspections was at an historical high!  In an effort to produce more efficient gas and oil heating appliances, the heating industry technology requirements exceeded the majority of masonry chimneys; flue liner deterioration was common and resulted in blocked or obstructed chimneys allowing dangerous carbon monoxide to be released into homes at an alarming rate.

The public understands the importance of having a primary care physician.  Now the public  needs to be aware of the importance of having a primary care chimney doctor to annually inspect and clean when necessary any chimney in use with any heating device.

The public is careful choosing its primary care physician.  That same care should be used to choose their primary care chimney doctor.

~ by Dave Hannah

Smoke Signals: Have a question about your chimney?