Prevent chimney fires with proper precautions. Chimney fires are terrifying because they can flare up at any time and put your family in danger. The good news is that they’re completely preventable.
The fires can burn extremely hot and create a good deal of noise in the process, including rumbling, cracking, or popping sounds.
Here’s what you need to know about chimney fires so that you can keep your family safe and your home intact.
Signs that You’ve Already Had a Chimney Fire
It’s a terrifying thought, but the fact is that you may have already had a chimney fire and didn’t realize it. The warning signs include warped dampers, cracked or collapsed flue tiles, discolored and distorted rain caps, and damage to any antennas that are on the chimney. You may also see creosote pieces on the roof or ground around the house and chimney. When a fire is burning, there may be smoke escaping through the mortar joints on the chimney, and you may be able to see cracks in the exterior masonry.
Only Burn Wood, Newspapers, and Dry Kindling
People sometimes use the fireplace as a trash incinerator, but this is actually not the best idea. Glossy papers can create more creosote, so you don’t want to burn most junk mail or wrapping paper. Cardboard also flares hot and can lead to more buildup in the chimney. Ideally, you should stick with:
• Seasoned, dry firewood
• Dry kindling
How to Spot Seasoned Wood
Burning green wood for just one day can produce enough creosote to start a chimney fire. Seasoned logs have dried out and weigh less than green lumber. The bark will also be nice and loose when the wood is ready to burn.
To be on the safe side, you should either use a moisture meter and look for wood with moisture readings of 25% or less. Another option is to store it for at least one year. Be sure to keep it off the ground in a dry area with plenty of air circulation to ensure that it dries properly.
Prevent Chimney Fires | Regular Inspections
Have your chimney cleaned at least once a year if you burn fires occasionally. If you’re using the fireplace as a primary heat source, then you’ll want to have it cleaned monthly during the cold season. A good cleaning company will also conduct an inspection to be sure that you don’t have any problems waiting for you.
Get the Right Liner
In the past, single brick chimneys were used for regular wood fires. Unfortunately, these are prone to deterioration and problems. Ideally, chimneys should be constructed using a double brick method, or they can be lined with an appropriate metal sleeve.
Burn it Hot
Another option to prevent chimney fires is to burn the fire hot so that you destroy more of the combustible material and keep creosote at bay. Fires that burn slow, low, and long tend to create more creosote, and that can lead to a dangerous situation. In addition to regular cleanings, go for a good roaring fire regularly to help eliminate unwanted waste.
Give us a call today at (303) 946-9990 to schedule your chimney inspection and cleaning. We can provide you with more information about your options and what your chimney needs.
Our goal is to help people throughout the area use their wood burning appliances safely and effectively, and we’re looking forward to working with you.