Chimney fires often start in the flue but can spread, causing extensive damage to your home. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent chimney fires. Let’s look at the common causes of fire and how you can keep your family and property safe.
Have a Chimney Inspection
When it comes to preventing chimney fires, you can do a few key things. First and foremost, have your chimney inspected regularly by a certified professional. An inspector will examine the chimney to ensure everything is in working order. They will check the condition of the structure, the flue, and the roof, looking for any signs of damage or wear. If there is a problem, it can cause smoke to drift into your home, reduce the efficiency of the fireplace, and lead to a fire.
Use the Right Fuel to Prevent Chimney Fires
Another step is to ensure you’re using the correct fuel type in your fireplace. Softwoods like pine and fir aren’t a great choice because they have a higher moisture content, leading to a smoky fire and more creosote build-up in the chimney. Instead, use hardwoods, like oak or maple, that have been seasoned for a minimum of six months.
Creosote is a dangerous by-product of burning. It is a black, tarry substance produced when wood or other organic matter burns incompletely. This material is combustible, and the build-up of creosote in chimneys and stovepipes can ignite and lead to a fire.
Leaves and paper products should not be burned in fireplaces because they can cause embers to float up the chimney and start a fire in the flue or on the roof. When building a fire, use smaller materials such as twigs, to start the fire. Wood kindling is a safer choice compared to paper products.
Prevent Fires by Keeping the Chimney Clean
It’s also essential to have the chimney cleaned. Hire a professional chimney sweep to remove leaves, animal nests, and creosote build-up. A pro will have the necessary brushes and equipment to complete the task safely. A clean chimney functions more efficiently and improves safety.
Never Leave a Fire Unattended
Another key piece of advice in preventing chimney fires is never to leave a fire unattended. If you’re going to bed or leaving the house, extinguish the flames completely. Make sure the fire is safely out or leave a responsible adult in charge if you must step away.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to preventing chimney fires. If you have concerns about the condition of your chimney, contact a professional to determine if there are problems that need to be addressed.
SC Property Inspections offers inspections to home buyers and sellers in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Contact us to request our services.