Chimney fires can be devastating. Because people usually already have a fire lit in the fireplace when a chimney fire starts, they don't always notice that the chimney is on fire right away, so the chimney fire spreads to the rest of the home, causing terrible destruction, and in some cases, injuries. It is therefore important that you do everything you can to prevent chimney fires. Take a look at the necessary preventative steps below.
1. Have your chimney professionally inspected each fall.
Most people don't use their fireplaces and chimneys a lot in the summer, but when fall comes, they start having fires again. Arrange to have a chimney service company come inspect the chimney each fall before you light that first fire. The chimney company will check for cracks, creosote buildup, and other issues that might perpetuate a chimney fire. They'll do a more thorough job than you could yourself, as they have equipment to reach deep down into the chimney.
2. Have your chimney cleaned each fall.
Also have your chimney cleaned when the chimney service comes out. If you don't use your chimney that often, it may not need to be cleaned every single year, but you're always better safe than sorry. Cleaning removes creosote, an oily, black, sticky substance that can build up inside the chimney and is flammable.
3. Only burn seasoned wood.
The greener your wood is, the lower the temperature it will burn at. And when wood burns at a lower temperature, it releases more creosote. Burning only seasoned wood will help prevent creosote buildup in your chimney, which will help prevent fires. Wood should be seasoned for at least one year before you burn it, but two years is even better.
4. Don't start a fire if you notice any cracks or oddities.
Take a few minutes to look over your chimney every now and then. If you notice any cracks or oddities, don't light a fire until you're able to have your chimney service come take a look. Not every crack is a big reason for concern. Some are just superficial. However, it is important to let a professional make that determination so you're not putting yourself at risk for a fire.
Chimney fires can be very destructive, but they are pretty easy to prevent as long as you adhere to the advice above. Talk to a chimney service in your area to learn more.