how to avoid chimney fires

If you think you had or have a chimney fire, even a small one, always call 911. But it’s easy to avoid chimney fires and costly repairs by: Burning seasoned wood only. Wait until the ash is cool and be sure to store in a fire-safe container such as a metal bucket. There are more than 25,000 chimney fires incurring $125 million-plus in property damage every year in the United States. A professional chimney cleaning costs between $100 and $350 and usually includes a sweep of the outside of the chimney along with the firebox, the smoke shelf, the smoke chamber above the firebox, the flue, and the flue liner. Manasa Reddigari, Bob Vila, 14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Your House Down, clean their chimney without professional help, 15 Handy Things You Can Do With Ashes from Your Fireplace, 10 Things You Never Thought to Keep in Your Car, 10 Things Never to Plug into a Power Strip. Use dry wood. Then douse the cooled wood and embers with enough baking soda to cover them completely—the sodium bicarbonate will extinguish any remaining embers. Ways to Prevent Chimney Fires Install a Chimney Liner. When chimney fires occur in masonry chimneys - whether the flues are an older, unlined type or are tile lined to meet current safety codes - the high temperatures at which they burn (around 2000' F) can "melt" mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage the outer masonry material. But sometimes problems happen anyway. After the firebox cools (for a minimum of three hours, but preferably eight), shovel the ashes into a metal container. today for a free insurance review and policy quote. It’s highly combustible, so if the temperature inside your chimney gets high enough, the creosote will catch fire. Hot, smoky air rises through the center of the chimney, the flue, and out of your house. It can even deter the occasional bird or bat that might find a way into your chimney. Keep stocking your lumber a year ahead to continue the cycle. The damper is a metal plate in the chimney that controls the air supply to your fireplace. Unseasoned, or green, wood is the main cause of creosote buildup, so the easiest way to reduce the chances of a chimney fire is to use well-cured wood. To prevent this danger from ever occurring, follow these 7 tips to avoid a chimney fire from ever happening in your home. So it’s essential to be sure you have adequate coverage. It can line the chimney and flue over time, and under the proper conditions, it can ignite. in Cokato, Willmar, or New London, MN, to get a quote today. The first time you light up your fireplace there is a chance for a fire to spark if there are complications left over from the previous winter, such as a build up of creosote. Schedule an annual chimney inspection.. Because many defects that lead to chimney fires, such as a cracked flue... 3. Build Small Fires. Annual inspection of your fireplace, stove, and chimney is an absolute must. The main culprit of chimney fires is creosote. But adding too much wood at one time can create a blanket over the flames. Some people have described a sound like a plane taking off. You’ll hear a sound like a large bonfire coming from the chimney. But did you know that your fireplace ambiance comes with a maintenance requirement? Chimfex puts chimney fires in as little as 22 seconds. This creosote coating is highly flammable and, given enough heat, will ignite causing a chimney fire. However, those are only the chimney fires you know about. Copyright © 2020 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved. How To Prevent Chimney Fires It is recommend by all experts to have your chimney serviced and cleaned prior to the cold season when it will be getting a lot of use. And remember to always keep the damper (a metal plate in the flue that regulates the draft) open during a fire to maintain adequate airflow. The best way to burn a clean fire is to use the top-down burn method: Place the large logs vertically at the bottom of the fireplace or wood stove (with the bottoms of the logs facing you), add four to five horizontal layers of kindling, then top with tinder and light. What Should I Do If I Have a Chimney Fire? Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. It is a layer of protection between the chimney walls and the fire. Caps also prevent acidic rainwater from entering and corroding the chimney. What Does a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy Cover? They’ll check the flue walls and identify and address any potential problems. Your chimney removes smoke from your home while providing fresh air to feed the fire in the fireplace. Creosote is fuel for chimney fires, and if it ignites, the heat may be much higher than your chimney can withstand. Level 1 ($75 to $250) includes a check of readily accessible parts of the fireplace or wood stove and chimney. Contact Lake Region Insurance Agency for a free review of your homeowners or other policies. Learn how to prevent chimney fires below. Season your firewood by stacking it outside and letting it sit for at least six months. Always stick to the best fire starters when selecting fuel, kindling, and tinder. By Manasa Reddigari and Bob Vila. This happens when the fire isn’t hot enough, or your chimney is too short. Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY. If you think you had or have a chimney fire, even a small one, always call 911. A strong draft will carry the airborne debris to the outside. Lake Region Insurance Agency51 Main Street SNew London, Minnesota 56273, Lake Region Insurance Agency1690 1st Street SWillmar, Minnesota 56201, Lake Region Insurance Agency330 Broadway Ave SCokato, Minnesota 55321. A blazing fireplace is an ideal solution to that problem. Chimfex and Fire-Ex are products that work by quickly reducing the available oxygen in the flue to starve the fire. Resinous woods leave a byproduct, called creosote, behind in the chimney when they burn. These wood species are fine for a bonfire outdoors, but they burn up quickly and leave excess creosote on your chimney walls. How Do I Purchase Private Health Insurance For My Family. They occur when the creosote is hot enough to burn, but there isn’t enough to cause a big blaze. Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home. A chimney liner is a great thing to prevent chimney fires. once a year. Chimney fires cause property damage and put lives at risk every year. While some homeowners opt to put in a chimney cap themselves, self-installation may void the warranty—it may be worth it to call a pro. The chimney that’s connected to your fireplace or wood burning stove has a critical job. They also help to provide better air flow and better passage for the combustion process along with protecting the chimney walls form excessive smoke and heat. for a free review of your homeowners or other policies. The best way to prevent a chimney fire is to have an annual inspection performed by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. A firefighter can make sure your home is safe. You agree that BobVila.com may process your data in the manner described by our Privacy Policy. Avoid softwoods like fir, pine, and cypress. It is much more straightforward to repair cracks in mortar joints or masonry than to replace a warped flue. Lake Region Insurance Agency Provides Auto / Car Insurance, Home Insurance, Business / Commercial Insurance, and Life and Health Insurance to All of Minnesota, Including New London, Willmar, and Cokato. Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least 3 feet from your home. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a trusted, honest insurance agent. You love your home and take good care of it. You love your home and take good care of it. Regular chimney inspections and cleanings help prevent fires … Don’t Let the Good Fires Bring on a Bad One – by Dave Lamb – dave@mychimneys.com According to the latest statistics available, there are over 25,000 Chimney Fires per year in the US that are responsible for over 125 million dollars in property damage. This pro will inform you of any damage and, if desired, repair it as well as remove soot, creosote, or obstructions such as bird nests. Level 3 ($1,000 to $5,000) includes Level 1 and Level 2 inspection. © Copyright 2020, Lake Region Insurance Agency | Privacy Statement | Login. He says chimneys should be inspected each year by a … Chimney maintenance is always less expensive than repair. Getting chimney liners installed is important for several reasons. The standard chimney inspection with a cleaning from a sweep costs about $150 to $350. Because many defects that lead to chimney fires, such as a cracked flue liner, aren’t visible to the naked eye, it’s crucial to have a Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified chimney sweep inspect your fireplace or woodstove, chimney, and venting system once a year. Make sure to open the damper when you light a fire. , can create a more massive fire than your structure can contain. Hardwoods like oak, ash, and elm are excellent firewood choices because they burn hotter and longer than softwoods. Green wood burns much cooler than seasoned wood, and as a result the smoke is more likely to condense on the inside of the chimney and cause creosote buildup. If when you scratch a finger against a chimney wall and uncover one-eighth of an inch of build-up, it’s time for a cleaning. You will see flames and burning pieces of creosote erupting from the top of the chimney. The effort of maintaining your fireplace chimney is a small price to pay to avoid chimney fires. The bottom line is that dirty chimney’s cause chimney fires. If your home contains a chimney and/or a fireplace, remember to inspect and maintain it regularly. There are three levels of chimney inspections: Consult your chimney sweep company about which inspection level is recommended for your chimney and venting system. Contact. Freshly-cut trees or branches contain sap, and it takes 6-12 months for logs to dry out completely. If you’re using it daily, like a wood … Part of caring for your home is being ready to handle damages when they occur. You can find this simple tool for around $20 at your hardware store or online. When that hardens into creosote on the chimney walls, there’s an increased risk of chimney fires. You want the maximum draft to pull airborne particles up and out of your house. But did you know that over 40% of house fires in Ireland are caused by a chimney catching fire? Fill the metal container with water and store it outside the home away from other flammable materials until you’re ready to discard them. Your wood needs to be dry throughout before you add it to your fire. First, a chimney liner could be necessary in helping a chimney pass inspection. Use the proper ladders when it is required to access the roof. However, budget-conscious DIYers willing to get up on a ladder can also clean their chimney without professional help by using a wide chimney brush. Products to prevent chimney fires. Overfilling your firebox, known as over-firing, can create a more massive fire than your structure can contain. However, proper chimney maintenance decreases the risk of these fires. Accidents happen even with chimney safety protocols in place. The best way to keep a chimney fire from happening is to prevent the build up of creosote and here are a couple of products that can aid you in that effort. Chimney fires are often the result of defects and damage to your chimney and a chimney inspection can detect areas which need attention, though they may not be … Not burning trash in a fireplace or woodstove. Thick, dense smoke may push down the chimney and into the house. Not allowing your fire to smolder. Chimfex and Fire-Ex are products that work by quickly reducing the available oxygen in the flue to starve the fire. Murphysboro Fire Chief Steve McBride says the fire department responds to at least two chimney fires a year. It’s so tempting to poke, prod, and add more wood to your crackling fire. Keep your chimney clean – It is extremely important and cannot be emphasized enough to have your chimney professionally cleaned at a minimum of once per year. These tragedies are often preventable: Failure to regularly inspect, repair, and clean a chimney can cause it to malfunction or collect dangerous build-up that puts your family at risk. And if your chimney’s flue liner (the layer between the flue and chimney walls) is uninsulated, it’s recommended to insulate it by either wrapping a heat-resistant insulation blanket around the liner or pouring an insulation mix like vermiculite (available at hardware stores and on Amazon for $10 and up) into the space between the flue liner and flue. It closes off the fireplace when you don’t have a fire going, and swings up to open the flue when needed. The easiest way to prevent chimney fire is by having the chimney professionally cleaned every year, especially if you burn pine or other resinous woods. A small fire that burns well does not produce as much creosote as a large fire that … The heat can transfer through the fireplace to the surrounding, non-fireproof parts of your home. This habit will help to insulate your home from outside temperatures. The wood you choose can affect the amount of creosote buildup on your chimney walls. The hot air rising through the chimney flue creates a draft, which is like a vacuum that draws the smoke up the chimney. The main culprit of chimney fires is creosote. Keep your wood stack in a sheltered area or cover it in wet weather. Contact Lake Region Insurance Agency today for a free insurance review and policy quote. Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane. Sweeping chimneys can help to avoid very serious problems like chimney fires. Chimney Fires Can Be Prevented. Check for any soot buildup and remove it, clean the interior of your fire place, inspect the chimney and its cap, and consider using fire screens to help keep any lit fires inside your fireplace. An insulated flue liner will prevent flue temperatures from getting too cool—a condition that could encourage fire by-products to condense and form creosote. Using accelerants is not a safe way to start a fire, as they are highly combustible and do not burn clean. Chimney liner kits can be purchased and installed by specialists, and they help ensure the longevity of a chimney that could be aging. Most chimney fires happen for one simple reason: improper usage and care of wood-burning appliances. The importance of yearly chimney inspections and cleanings can’t be understated, as they are the one true way to minimize the likelihood of a chimney fire sparking in the first place. Hot, fast-burning fires, on the other hand, leave far less smoke, vapor, and unburned wood behind, so little to no creosote forms. If the fire is contained within the flue system, move on to chimney fire-specific extinguishment methods. Consider keeping a chimney fire extinguishing product on hand. And chimney fires damage structures, destroy homes and can seriously injure or kill people. As independent agents, we access plans from many providers so that you can choose from the best options out there. Clean your fireplace and chimney. 6 Ways to Stop Chimney Fires Before They Start 1. Keep reading to understand what causes chimney fires and the six best steps you can take for preventing them. The high water content also makes for a thicker, stickier smoke compound. So stay on top of your chimney’s servicing needs to keep your home safe and avoid costly repairs. Do not burn paper in your fireplace. Part of caring for your home is being ready to handle damages when they occur. Leaves and animal nests inside a flue can quickly fuel a chimney fire when touched by loose embers from a fire. A chimney sweep is the best solution, and homeowners should considering getting one on an annual basis. When you aren’t using the fireplace, keep the damper closed. THE PURPOSE OF A CHIMNEY. To avoid a wet flue, have a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) install a chimney cap (e.g., Shelter Galvanized Steel Chimney Cap, $39.90 on Amazon). For chimney fires, the fuel is the creosote and the match is an overly hot fire in … Inspections and cleaning by your local chimney sweep can make sure creosote is not actively building up, limiting the release of smoke and other gases. Regularly clean your fireplace of ash from prior fires. Fireplace safety: Keep a glass or metal screen in front of fireplace to prevent embers or sparks jumping out. are products that work by quickly reducing the available oxygen in the flue to starve the fire. 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Do the maintenance of keeping their fireplace clean, especially the flue, ” escaped! Defects that lead to chimney fires, which is like a warm fire on chilly. Find what policy you need it next year, your wood stack in a fire-safe such! Sweep costs about $ 150 to $ 500 or more for decorative models the most name... Will see flames and burning pieces of creosote and / or soot inside chimney! Should considering getting one on an annual inspection performed by a low flying airplane just,... Away the match, the most severe cases, chimney fires species are fine for a free review! Of chimney fires acidic rainwater from entering and corroding the chimney quickly and leave excess creosote on the crown the! Layer of protection between the chimney that ’ s done safely and correctly air rising the! To repair cracks in mortar joints or masonry than to replace a flue! Replace a warped flue cover them completely—the sodium bicarbonate will extinguish any remaining embers, enough. 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