Chimney Safety 101

chimney-safetyConducting chimney maintenance every fall season is crucial to keep the safety of our family. Neglected chimneys accumulate a certain material known as creosote which is a highly combustible by-product from charred wood. Failing to remove this will lead to chimney fires that can destroy homes and risk your family’s safety in the process.

The best way to prevent chimney fires is to acquire the services of a professional chimney sweeper. Not only will he clean your chimneys but he will also check this area of your house for cracks and any loose bricks that might ruin the integrity of your chimney.

Once your chimney is cleaned and thoroughly inspected, you can follow these useful tips to keep your chimney a safe place inside your house:

1. Make sure to keep the area from any papers and wood debris – Be sure to keep these things at a safe distance from the fireplace to avoid the possibility of catching fire that will lead to bigger flames.

2. Make sure to place a protection in front of your fireplace – You can use any protection like a glass door or a wire mesh to keep all the burnt wood splinters from going into your rug. When the wood is burned, it has a tendency to ‘fire up’ burnt splinters from any directions. So to keep your house safe, have a protection installed in front of your fireplace.

3. Use hardwoods that are ‘split up’ about 6-months to a year before – Woods that are considered ‘green’ create more creosote. And the reason why you need to use woods that are prepared about a year before is to ensure that the wood is completely dry. Moist woods create sparks and it also produces flying wood debris which can start massive house fires. In addition to this, do not be tempted in burning your trash, gift wrappers or even you Christmas tree because these things also create more creosote.

4. Keep the chimney area clear at all times – If you have the habit of putting small trees inside the house, make sure that their branches are over 15 feet away from the chimney. Tiny branches are also susceptible to catching fire so it’s best to keep the vicinity of the fireplace clean to avoid any regrets in the end.

5. Make sure to install a wire mesh on top your chimney – Installing a wire mesh along the sides of the cap will prevent any birds or small animals from entering your chimney. Aside from that, having a cap provides protection during the rainy season and prevents the water from getting inside your house.

6. Try not to burn excessively – Burning of too much wood will make the walls hotter. And the higher the temperature gets, the more possibility that it would develop a crack. Cracks are the most common places where creosote ca build-up. So the next time you will use your chimney to warm yourself, be sure to burn wood that is just enough to provide the much needed warmth to keep you comfortable and relaxed all throughout the evening.