By Andrea Moyer
Autumn’s cooler weather stokes our reminiscences as we contemplate curling up with a good book and possibly lighting a fire in the fireplace. The last thing anyone wants is a house fire, especially one that started as the result of a poorly kept chimney! This Fire Prevention week, I’ve listed some useful tips for preventing chimney fires. Take a look:
- Have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year, more frequently if creosote tends to build up on your chimney walls more rapidly.
- Consider installing a stainless steel liner that will withstand even the highest temperatures and keep embers contained.
- Be alert to buildup of soot and creosote. While soot is softer than creosote, both are flammable and should be cleaned off regularly.
- Between professional inspections and cleanings, check and monitor your wood burning fireplace for signs of buildup and other problems.
- Clean the interior of your fireplace, including the floor, regularly. Sweep or vacuum any cold ashes.
- Your chimney has a cap on it with open sides which are covered in mesh to keep out rain, birds, squirrels and debris. Make sure this cap is regularly inspected and replaced when necessary.
- Are you getting smoke indoors from your fireplace? There can be several reasons for this:
• Dirty chimney
• Soot/creosote buildup
• Other debris
• Flue that isn’t open or fully opened
• Wood not burning completely
- Consider installing heat-proof glass doors to protect against heat loss and a fan or blower to direct heat into the room.
- Don’t forget the chimney for your oil burner! Even if your home does not have a fireplace, you might have a chimney for the oil burner. Don’t neglect it!
- Burn hardwoods, like oak, maple, ash and birch. Yes, they tend to be more expensive, but these woods burn hot and long. They are also cleaner to handle, have less pitched sap and tend to leave less creosote buildup.
A clean, well-kept chimney repays your efforts with peace of mind. As the autumn chill sets in, enjoy a cozy fire in the fireplace instead of an out-of-control blaze on the roof!
Also Read: Protecting Your Home Against Lightning Strikes...and the Aftermath