A full blown chimney fire is devastatingly impressive. It burns extremely hot and is just as dangerous as any other house fire. Our goal is to help homeowners like you avoid the experience of a chimney fire at all costs. The CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified Chimney Sweeps at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service have dedicated several years to helping homeowners maintain a clean, safe, and waterproof chimney. Here are some safety tips to help prevent chimney fires.
We’ll start at the beginning – installation. The entire system must be installed correctly in order to work properly. Request an inspection from a certified chimney sweep if you’ve just purchased a home with a chimney and fireplace and would like to make sure it was installed properly.
Understand that Chimneys are Not No-Maintenance
Your fireplace and chimney are heat-producing appliances with moving parts. Think about what would happen to your car if you never had the oil changed. The parts would eventually seize up and stop working and your car would be useless. Your chimney collects soot and creosote every time you use it. The thicker the creosote gets, the more at-risk your chimney becomes for a chimney fire. We clean out the creosote and make sure the flue is free of damage so you can continue using your fireplace and chimney.
Use Seasoned Wood
Freshly cut wood is not suitable for the fireplace, even if the person selling it to you says, “sure it’ll be fine!” Fresh wood, also called green wood, contains a large percentage of water. That water mixes with the smoke as it cools inside your chimney and creates creosote. Creosote sticks to the flue and creates a very dangerous situation. It is very flammable and the resulting fire is often explosive.
Maple, beech, ash, hickory, and oak are the preferred fuel for a fireplace or wood stove. They should be seasoned for at least a year before burning and kept in a dry place for the duration of that year. Hardwoods such as these burn hotter and more efficiently than softwoods, making them the better heat choice.
Avoid Creosote Buildup
Burning seasoned wood, burning hardwoods, and having your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year will help avoid creosote buildup. You can try some of the logs that are designed to clean creosote if you wish, but they aren’t miracle workers. They usually help reduce the amount of creosote that builds up, but they do not eliminate the problem entirely. Regular cleaning and inspection are still required.
Always get your information from trusted sources. We rely on the CSIA, National Fireplace Institute, F.I.R.E., and other educational institutions for our information. We will always pass the latest information on to you because we strive to continue our education in the field on a regular basis. Call us to discuss your chimney problems or to schedule an inspection or cleaning at 610-626-2439.