Creosote, the residue that is left in the chimney after burning wood, is a flammable substance. This is what causes so many fires to break out in chimneys each year. Many fires are small enough to go unnoticed, but this could be a sign that a larger fire can start at some point. Everyone who has a chimney in the home should learn how to spot the signs, and how to keep the chimney safe year after year. The information provided below will help you to get a better understanding of this danger.
Understanding Chimney Fires
Creosote buildup is inevitable if you use your fireplace or wood stove. Therefore, the only step you can take is to try to keep fires from starting in the chimney. You can keep this structure safe for use with the right measures. The main steps in preventing these fires are:
- Annual inspections: The Chimney Safety Institute of America and the fire department both recommend getting the chimney inspected at least once per year. The sweep will thoroughly clean out the creosote, so you can use your fireplace without worrying about a fire in the chimney.
- Use the right wood: the use of unseasoned wood in the fireplace increases the level of creosote deposits inside the chimney. It is essential that you use only wood that is properly dried. Hardwoods are the best for the fireplace and the chimney.
- Install detectors: smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are important for every home that has a chimney. An early warning of danger can save your life and protect your property.
Conditions that Increase Creosote
While creosote isn’t unavoidable, there are other factors which hasten the buildup which include:
- Low chimney temperature
- Restricted air flow
- Not opening the damper wide enough
- Poor chimney draft for moving heated air out of the chimney
If you start to hear a loud noise like a train while using the fireplace, this means a fire has started inside the chimney. If flue tiles are damaged or have collapsed this is another sign that there has been a fire inside. Fire in the chimney can blacken or warp the rain cap, and you may notice creosote flakes on the roof or ground. If you notice any of these signs, talk to a technician right away. This is one situation you should never ignore for the safety of your family and home.
Fireplace Safety and Chimney Inspections in Drexel Hill
We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.