Hi, I am Melissa from NorthlineExpress and today we are going to cover some tips to help you reduce the risks of a chimney fire occurring in your home. As beautiful as a home fire burning may be there could be some dangers lurking inside your chimney that could put you at risk for a chimney fire. In fact, in the United States a monumental amount of chimney fire occur each year. There are 120 million dollars in property damages and 25,000 chimney fires occurring annually. So keep reading and we will cover some tips that can help you reduce your risk of chimney fires.
Prevent Chimney Fires
The #1 cause of chimney fires in the United States is creosote. The creosote build-up is a by-product of burning firewood and it builds up inside of your chimney and is very flammable. There are certain things that some do that are actually going to increase your creosote build-up and your chances of a chimney fire. The tips that I am going to provide you are going to help reduce those risks of a chimney fire.
The first and most important tip is that you are burning only good firewood. I am not only talking about burning hardwoods over softwoods, but also that the firewood is seasoned and dry. When properly seasoned firewood moisture content should be below 15%. You can check the moisture content in your firewood with a moisture meter or by using the old fashion trick of banging two pieces of firewood together and listening to the sound. Dry seasoned firewood is going to sound like wooden baseball bats banging together versus a dull thud when you hit the two pieces of firewood together. Moisture Meters are going to be a much easier method for you and they are going to give you a more accurate reading. They will give you the actual percentage of the moisture in the firewood.
The next tip is to be conscious of what you are burning. It is very tempting to use a chemical Firestarter when having a difficult time lighting your fire. However that is not a good idea with indoor fires. Not only is it very hazardous but it will produce more gases inside the chimney that will increase the creosote build-up. Also the gases that are let off from the chemical starter could lead to a dangerous flare up inside the home. You should also not be burning things in your fire like cardboard, paper, or last year’s Christmas tree. These items will also add to the build-up and they are going to have chemicals in them that you are not aware of and when they are burned those chemicals will be released into your home for you and your family to breathe in. Paper and Cardboard embers will also float into the flue, much like they do when burnt in an outside bonfire. If they were to make it up the chimney they could land on the roof or a combustible area igniting a fire.
This tip is just as important as not burning things that are going to increase your creosote build-up and that is to make sure that you remove any creosote build-up regularly. If you are burning wood it is inevitable that you will have creosote build-up in your chimney. But cleaning it out is going to help keep the build-up at a manageable level and also make sure that you are safe before the burning season. The amount of cleaning you will need to perform each season is going to depend on the frequency that you burn, if you are burning to supplement heat you will need to clean more often than if you were just burning occasionally.
The reason creosote is so flammable is that it goes up inside a chimney and anytime the flue temperature falls below 250 degrees condensation will occur. The condensation is going to combine with the creosote particles to make a sticky tar-like creosote substance on the walls of the flue. This is why it is very important to control the amount of moisture let off from firewood that is burned. Firewood that is not properly seasoned is not going to burn very efficiently and it is going to release that moisture right into your flue.
Hopefully you follow the tips that I have given you and you do not end up with a chimney fire. But what should you do if a chimney fire occurs? If a chimney fire is igniting you are going to be aware because they ignite loudly and you will hear popping or cracking as your flue reaches higher temperatures than normal. It will almost sound like a freight train running up the chimney. You neighbors could also see large flames coming out of your chimney flue. These are all signs of a chimney fire. It is very important that you remain calm and react quickly. First thing you will want to do is evacuate all of your family from the home and then call the fire department. I also recommend that you keep a Chimfex Fire Suppressant readily available. This product is going to extinguish a chimney fire within just seconds. Chimfex is not a replacement to calling the fire department it is however a suppressant that can be used at the onset of a chimney fire. It could be the difference between a contained chimney fire and a fire that results in property loss that could be devastating. Chimfex is a very simple product to use, you are simply going to strike it, put it inside the firebox, and seal off the opening by closing the door on a wood stove or covering the opening on a fireplace. Many fire departments are aware of benefits of using Chimfex and even use this product themselves.
Now we all enjoy sitting back and enjoying the warmth of a beautiful home fire but we don’t want to avoid the things lurking in our chimney that could cause a potential danger of a chimney fire. If you are making sure that you are burning good seasoned firewood, not burning items in your fire that shouldn’t be, and you are conducting regular chimney cleanings and inspections you will be that much safer and able to avoid a chimney fire.