4 Tips to Prevent a Chimney Fire

4 Tips to Prevent a Chimney Fire

As summer fades away and cool weather makes its way into our lives, many homes begin using supplementary heat sources to keep warm. “Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to safely contain wood-fuel fires, while providing heat for a home. The chimneys that serve them have the job of expelling the by-products of combustion – the substances produced when wood burns. These include smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog and assorted minerals. As these substances exit the fireplace or wood stove, and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote (See 1).”

Due to its thick, sticky and sometimes flaky consistency and highly combustable properties, creosote build up is the main cause of chimney fires. Chimney fires can cause a great deal of damage to a home or business.

Soot Damage Before

Soot Damage Before

Soot Damage Afte

Soot Damage After

Chimney fires can most often be identified by the loud locomotive-type sound they emit and large flames or smoke which billow from the chimney. However, a slow-burning chimney fire can often go by unnoticed but is just as dangerous as they burn slowly at high temperatures causing structural damage to your chimney. Scroll through this article to learn the 9 signs that you’ve had a chimney fire.

You can prevent chimney fires by following these tips:

  1. Proper chimney cleaning is the key to preventing creosote build-up. A quarter-inch of creosote build-up signals the time for a cleanup. Regular chimney inspections and cleanings to remove the excess creosote from the chimney walls will help ensure safe burning (See 2).
  2. Burn proper fuels (well-seasoned or dry wood). It typically takes 6 months for wood to dry out enough to be ready to burn.
  3. The temperature of the fire also plays a big role in creosote formation or burning. Always run a wood stove within the manufacturer’s recommended temperature limits. Too low a temperature increases creosote build-up, and too high a temperature may eventually cause damage to the chimney and result in a chimney fire (See 2).
  4. Never burn household trash, cardboard or Christmas trees in your fireplace. The sparks they produce can lead to chimney fires.
    In the event that you experience a chimney fire, do not hesitate to give us a call! We’re experts in restoring your home or business after fire, smoke and soot have done their damage.

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