Well the wood burning season is not quite over yet which means that we are not out of the woods when it comes to the risk of a chimney fire. The risk is there as long as you are burning wood in a fireplace or wood stove. The health of your chimney plays a very big role in how high of a risk you will run.
Even with proper construction of a chimney, it needs to be maintained with regular cleanings and inspections.
Preventative Measures to Take
You may not know it but right now there could be a serious danger lurking in your chimney, creosote buildup. Creosote buildup is a major factor in chimney fire ignition. It is a crusty tar like deposit in your chimney that is highly combustible. This is why regular chimney cleaning either by you or by a professional is very important.
The National Fire Protection Association also recommends that you have your chimney inspected at least once a year by a certified professional. The only real way to know if you have a problem with your chimney is to have it inspected
Additional Tips for Chimney Fire Prevention
In addition to regular cleaning and annual inspection here are some other tips to help prevent a chimney fire.
- Burn only seasoned wood. Your fireplace will burn cleaner with less chances of creosote buildup that can lead to a fire.
- Be sure not to over load your firebox. You should only stack logs to about half of the height of your fire box and flames should never be able to reach up into the chimney.
- Remember, your fireplace is not and incinerator. Do not burn thing like wrapping paper or boxes. Materials like these only will contribute to the buildup in your chimney.
- Keep an inch of ash in the bottom of your firebox. This will allow hot coals to nestle down into the ash and cool off at the end of the burn.
- Build smaller fires using hotter burning wood if possible like hickory or ash. Not only will this help you save on what you burn it also burns more completely which decreases risk of creosote buildup in chimneys.
Chimney Fire Stats
Now let’s take a look at some statistics surrounding chimney fires to better understand why taking these steps for prevention is so important.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission during the 3 year period of 2009-2011, on average each year there were 24,300 chimney fires, 23 lives were lost and 93 people suffered injuries.
Another shocking statistic is when you hear that during that same time period each year the average amount of overall property damage was over $115 million. Those are nationwide numbers but I alone can think of three chimney fires locally in the last year, all total losses.
Fireplace and chimney fires, just like any fire, range in size and severity. They can range from thousands of dollars if a single room is damaged to even more if the entire home is lost.
Be Prepared Just in Case
Even though were talking about preventing chimney fires, if you burn wood you should be keeping 2-3 Chimfex Fire Suppressants on hand. Studies show that the Chimfex will suppress a fire in an average of 22 seconds. They work similar to a flare, just light it, toss it into the fire, and close off the opening.
The burning stick of Chimfex will deplete the oxygen that is feeding the fire, thus extinguishing the fire. It is better to be safe than sorry should you ever experience a chimney fire. Having Chimfex around could save you from the total loss of your home.
I hope you have found this information helpful.