A chimney fire can have devastating results. At their worst, these accidents can result in entire homes being burnt to the ground and people losing their lives. Most chimney fires are the result of carelessness and a lack of chimney care and maintenance. A few simple ways to help prevent a chimney fire are outlined below.
Have Your Chimney and Fireplace Cleaned and Inspected Annually
A damaged chimney can spread fire to the surrounding areas in your home. A dirty chimney with a lot of creosote and soot buildup is dangerous because these materials burn at very high temperatures, spreading the fire. It is therefore important to have your chimney and fireplace checked annually. For best results, use the services of a certified chimney sweep. Annual cleaning of the chimney will ensure better passage for the smoke and exhaust gases, in addition to regular removal of dangerous creosote.
Build Small Fires
A small fire that burns well does not produce as much creosote as a large fire that is burning slowly. This is because a fire that burns brightly produces lesser smoke and soot, thereby reducing the buildup on the inside of the chimney. Small fires are also safer and easier to control.
Use Seasoned Wood
Dry, seasoned wood is the best choice for starting a fire. This is because wet wood burns slowly, creating more smoke, which condenses on the inside of the chimney. This results in an increase in the creosote deposits in your chimney. To build any fire, always use wood that has been seasoned for 6 months or longer.
Never Use Paper or Combustible Liquids in the Fireplace
Never use combustible materials or liquids to start a fire. The flames can get out of hand very quickly, resulting in disaster. Never burn paper, garbage, plants, Christmas trees or wrapping paper in a fireplace. These materials can float up the chimney when aflame and ignite the creosote deposits on top, resulting in a chimney fire.
Use a Chimney Liner
A chimney liner is an essential part of a fire prevention plan. Chimney liners provide better air flow, better exhaust passage for combustion gases and also protect the chimney structure from excessive heating and exhaust fumes. As a result, your chimney is easier to keep clean. The chimney structure is protected from damage, thereby reducing the chances of a chimney fire.
Install a Chimney Cap
A chimney cap prevents unwanted elements in your chimney. Animals or birds setting up residence in the chimney could ignite a chimney fire. Also, leaves or twigs that could fall inside are highly flammable and can result in a chimney fire.
Ensure Good Air Supply
Restriction in the air supply to the fireplace aids in the formation of creosote. To improve air flow, ensure that the fireplace damper is fully open. Leave the glass doors open to ensure that the air supply is not cut off while the fire is burning.