Before preparing for the pleasure of a cozy fire, stop and think about safety. Avoiding chimney fires: important prevention measures are a great place to begin. Every year, more than 25,000 chimney fires occur in the U.S., and they cause more than $125 million in property damage. Chimney fires put your home and family at risk, but they are usually preventable. Below, see important prevention measures for avoiding chimney fires.
The combustion byproducts of wood fires leave deposits of flammable creosote in the chimney flue. The tar-like substance builds up in layers, all the while creating the threat of a chimney fire since floating embers can ignite creosote.
Clean chimneys don’t catch fire. So, Avoiding Chimney Fires: Important Prevention Measure #1 is to remove the creosote. The recommendation of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is to schedule cleaning annually. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), another leading expert in fire safety, recommends that you schedule a chimney cleaning when there is 1/8 inch of creosote buildup in your flue.
Avoiding chimney fires may not be fully accomplished by removing the creosote. Defects in the chimney system can also lead to chimney fires. A damaged flue liner, for instance, is very dangerous, but such deterioration is seldom visible to the naked eye. During a Level 2 chimney inspection, a special camera is used to inspect the flue liner from top to bottom. This is a vital service because a damaged flue liner must be repaired or replaced before the appliance can be used again.
During a basic chimney inspection, all accessible parts of a chimney are checked. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep has the know-how to spot the various problems with the venting system. If there is any type of obstruction in the chimney flue, they will inform you and can take care of any issues that arise. Obstructions cause many fires year after year.
You can’t altogether avoid creosote buildup if you have a wood-burning fireplace, but you can minimize the amount of creosote deposited by fires. It is important to lessen creosote buildup however possible because if a chimney fire is ignited, all the creosote in the chimney liner is likely to feed the fire and keep it going. Practically every chimney fire causes some level of structural damage, and the longer a chimney fire burns, the worse the destruction it causes.
To minimize creosote buildup, burn only seasoned wood, which has a moisture content of 20% or less. You can test the wood with a moisture meter, which can be purchased for under $25. The cooler temperatures at the top of the flue contribute to creosote buildup. An insulated flue liner can prevent that from occurring.
Avoiding chimney fires: important prevention measures include using the right burning techniques. Smoldering fires contribute to a great amount of creosote buildup. To burn clean or efficient fires, use a top-down burn method in which the large logs are on the bottom of the fire facing the hearth opening. Add kindling in several horizontal layers on top of the logs. Light the tinder, which is placed at the top.
Extinguish the fire before you retire at night. Use a fireplace poker to spread out the embers and wood. Douse with baking soda, completely covering the cooled wood and embers. The sodium bicarbonate is excellent at extinguishing fires and lingering embers.
Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Chimney Solutions have earned the trust of many homeowners in Atlanta and Indiana. They can help you with the essential goal of avoiding chimney fires: important prevention measures. Our friendly professionals can provide chimney inspections, chimney cleaning, masonry repair, chimney liner installation, chimney cap installation, flashing repair, and any other needs related to your chimney and fireplace or stove.