Chimney fires are dangerous and can destroy a home. They cause more than $125 million in property damage each year. The leading cause of these fires is creosote buildup in the flue. Chimney fires can be prevented with proper care and regular maintenance. If you practice these prevention tips, you will enjoy your fireplace safely all season long. Here are a few simple ways to prevent chimney fires in your home.
Chimney Inspections and Cleanings Prevent Chimney Fires
Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned at least once a year to remove creosote. Creosote is a highly flammable byproduct of burning wood. It sticks to the fireplace and flue and is one of the main causes of chimney fires. To reduce creosote, burn only seasoned hardwood that contains less than 20% moisture. Open the damper during a fire to maintain the right amount of airflow.
When selecting a professional to inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney, be sure the Chimney Safety Institute of America certifies them. There are three levels of chimney inspections that range in price depending upon your specific situation. Chimney sweep companies can do an initial evaluation to determine which inspection level is best for your needs.
Chimney Liners and Caps
Chimney liners are a vital part of preventing chimney fires. They allow for more airflow to protect the structure of the chimney from intense heat. They also make cleaning the chimney easier. Add a chimney liner if you don’t already have one.
A chimney cap keeps birds and wildlife from nesting in your chimney. The branches and leaves they build their nests with can cause chimney fires, so have a cap installed to prevent this. Chimney caps also protect your chimney from rainwater damage.
Techniques for Clean Burning
With a fireplace, it’s always best to use clean-burning techniques. Stick with burning hardwoods like oak, maple, and ash. These woods are more substantial and denser, so they deliver more heat. Be sure to use only seasoned wood that has been cut and dried for at least six months to a year.
Following these simple tips will help you enjoy your fireplace safely for years to come. Keep up with regular care and maintenance to prevent chimney fires.