What Are The Different Ways to Prevent Chimney Fires?
A chimney fire may start as the result of a stressful event in a homeowner’s life or it may even happen without the homeowner’s knowledge. In either case, a chimney fire has the potential to seriously harm (and even destroy) a chimney or a house. It’s crucial to comprehend what causes chimney fires because numerous fires start in or around the chimney every year that result in building damage or fatalities.
Why do chimney fires start?
Chimney fires are a result of the accumulation of creosote in the chimney’s flue. As a byproduct of combustion, creosote is a highly combustible black or dark brown residue. This substance can be firm, sticky, crusty, or tar-like. A chimney fire may begin if there is enough of it, the internal flue temperature is high enough, or sparks or flames enter the area.
What are the different ways to prevent chimney fires?
- Reduce creosote accumulation to avoid chimney fires
Creosote is the primary cause of chimney fires. When fire byproducts (smoke, vapour, and unburned wood) condense as they flow from the hot fireplace or wood stove into the cooler chimney, they coat the walls of the chimney with this extremely combustible, dark brown substance. Creosote can catch fire and propagate up the flue if the temperature in the chimney flue (the area inside the chimney) is high enough and the creosote buildup is thick enough. Additionally, keep in mind that for proper airflow during a fire, the damper (a metal plate in the chimney that controls the draught) should always be kept open.
- Installing a chimney cap
Your chimney will remain clear of exterior debris, animals, birds, nesting materials, and other potential obstructions if your flue is covered by a sturdy chimney cap. It’s a reasonable investment that can both spare you a lot of money in repairs and safeguard you from chimney fires. It is always worth it as without the chimney cap, deadly accidents can happen anytime.
- By employing clean burning techniques
Keep the damper completely open since oxygen deprivation can result in smoke and smouldering, which can accumulate creosote. Controlling the temperature is crucial. A lack of heat can leave combustible material unburned while an excess of heat can shut the air inlet. The ideal temperature for the stove’s or pipe’s exterior is between 300 and 500 degrees. The temperature inside the flue, which should be between 600 and 1,000 degrees, can be measured with a probe thermometer. Always remember to put out the fire before turning in for the night. Through many techniques like these, we can prevent chimney fires.
- Scheduling an annual chimney inspection
It’s essential to have a Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified chimney sweep to inspect your fireplace or woodstove, chimney, and venting system once a year because many flaws that cause chimney fires, such as cracked flue liner, aren’t visible to the naked eye. These experts will let you know if there has been any damage, fix it if you’d like, and get rid of any blockages like bird nests as well as soot and creosote.
- Purchase a chimney fire extinguisher
A chimney fire extinguisher could help to stop significant damage in the event of a chimney fire. These specifically created fire extinguishers, also referred to as Class ABC extinguishers, put out fires by forcing smoke up the chimney. If it is safe to do so, only use the extinguisher. Get out of the house as soon as possible, then dial the fire department. Precautions are always the best.
- Burn only seasoned dry wood
Only burn “clean” flames if you want to reduce creosote formation. Select hardwoods that have been split, chopped, and cured for a year or more ideally. Evergreen trees tend to explode and smoke more than hardwoods, although they often dry out more quickly than dense trees like ash, elm, maple, and oak. To guarantee that the wood has no more than 20% moisture content, be sure to provide room around the stack to let air flow and dry the wood. You may also want to consider buying a wood moisture metre. As the health and the fire of your chimney depend greatly on the wood, make sure you keep an eye on this factor.
Avoid burning cloth, magazines, wrapping paper and cardboard as well. Never use liquid accelerants in a fireplace or wood stove, such as gasoline, kerosene or lighter fluid.
What to do in case of a chimney fire?
You can use a chimney fire extinguisher and close any doors or inlets to your fireplace or stove to cut off the oxygen supply to the fire, but only if doing so is safe. Next, securely exit the area and dial fire emergency numbers. You have the option to place a hose on your roof before the fire service gets there to stop the fire from spreading, but doing so could result in masonry cracking when the cool water comes into contact with the hot chimney.
It’s crucial to engage a licensed chimney specialist to carry out a level 2 examination after the fire has been extinguished, even if it doesn’t appear that there has been any damage. Before you can once again utilise your chimney, they will decide if any repairs are required.
A Step in Time Chimney Sweeps provides the best chimney fire inspections which are essential to keep yourself protected. We during our inspection take care of everything to assure you of complete safety. We are even there to help you out after the chimney fire to recover your chimney from the damages. We assure your complete satisfaction with our services and provide them at competitive prices.