A fire can quickly spread and cause complete devastation to your home. The majority of chimney fires can be prevented by performing regular maintenance and taking precautions. Learn about how to prevent chimney fires so you can safely enjoy your fireplace or woodstove.

Get the Fireplace and Chimney Inspected

Damaged chimneys are more likely to spread fires to other parts of your house. Even a dirty chimney is a fire hazard. Soot and creosote can build up inside the chimney. This is dangerous because these materials are flammable and burn quickly once they catch fire. Annual chimney cleaning removes creosote and makes a clear path for exhaust gases and smoke.

Prevent chimney fires by having your fireplace and chimney inspected every year. Hire a professional chimney sweep. They are well-trained and know how to perform the job thoroughly and safely.

Keep the Fires Small

Larger fires create more creosote than smaller fires. For fire safety, build small ones that burn hot. This type of fire burns cleanly and produces less soot and smoke, resulting in less buildup inside your chimney. It’s easier to control a small fire as well.

Prevent Chimney Fires by Using Seasoned Wood

When building a fire, use dry wood that is seasoned. Green or unseasoned wood produces more smoke and soot as it burns in your fireplace. The smoke condenses as it moves up through the chimney and contributes to creosote build-up. The best option is to burn hardwood like oak, maple, or hickory, that has been seasoned for at least six months.

Don’t Use Combustible Materials

For ease of starting a fire, some homeowners use combustible liquids to get the fire going. The resulting fires produce flames that are hard to control.

Never burn trash, paper products, or holiday trees in your fireplace. These materials can move up through the chimney while burning, ignite the creosote, and start a chimney fire. These materials are also more likely to produce embers and spark out of your fireplace. If they land on carpeting, furniture, or draperies, they may start a house fire.

Use a Chimney Liner to Help Prevent Chimney Fires

Prevent chimney fires by using a chimney liner. Your chimney will be easier to clean. A liner is a helpful preventive measure because it:

  • promotes airflow through the chimney.
  • allows combustion gases to move up and out more effectively.
  • prevents excessive exhaust fumes.
  • keeps heat from damaging the chimney structure.

Inspect the Chimney Cap

If your chimney doesn’t currently have one, hire someone to add a cap. A chimney cap is designed to keep animals and debris out of your chimney. It will also help prevent downdrafts that blow smoke back into your home.

1st Alert Home Inspections offers home inspection services to Northeastern Ohio. If you’re buying or selling a home, contact us to request an appointment.

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