An estimated 25,000 chimney fires occur in the US annually, which typically cost millions in property damage. In addition, severe fires can result in the complete loss of homes or even death. Fortunately, most of these blazes are caused by improper chimney maintenance and are typically preventable.
Here in Chicagoland, IL, chimney sweeps can perform an annual inspection to help identify common problems that the naked eye might not see. Here, we’ll discuss potential chimney fire hazards, the importance of routine inspections, and other tips for minimizing these dangers.
1. Use Smart Burning Techniques To Prevent Fires
Flames that rise from the lower chimney can migrate upward, resulting in melting, cracking, and warping of metal or masonry walls. Using suitable wood can help minimize creosote build-up, a primary culprit of fires. In addition, using seasoned, dry wood such as oak or maple provides longer, steadier burns.
2. Minimize The Presence Of Creosote
Creosote is a dark brown/black, highly flammable substance that coats walls due to fire, smoke, unburned wood, and vapor exposure. Should the creosote be thick enough, it can ignite and move up the flue. Safe, clean burning techniques, good fire starters, and seasoned wood can reduce these chances.
3. Clean Chimney Walls With A ⅛-inch Layer Of Build-Up
Once walls have an eighth inch of creosote accumulation, call a professional to inspect and sweep the firebox, smoke chamber, flue, and exterior. Depending on the frequency of use, this service may be necessary once or twice yearly.
4. Install A Chimney Cap In Your System
Animal nests and leaves are other potential sources of chimney fires, but installing a well-fitting chimney cap can often derail these critters. These caps sit on the crown around the exterior opening of the flue. Caps help keep debris and animals out and can also prevent “back puffing,” which permits smoke to re-enter the chimney and penetrate the home.
5. Untrained Eyes Cannot Detect All Hazards
Gaps and cracks in the mortar or flue liner of wood stoves, fireplaces, and ventilation systems can be impossible to detect without a full inspection. While hairline fractures aren’t a significant concern, fixing them before they expand can prevent moisture from entering while preventing chimney fires. Experienced chimney sweeps inform owners of any damage and offer debris removal and repair services at reasonable rates.
6. Be Fireplace Smart With Routine Inspections In Chicagoland
Here at Windy Chimney Services, LLC, we help customers in the Schaumburg & Chicagoland, IL, area be fireplace ready. Enjoy the warmth and ambiance without concerns about fire hazards due to neglecting maintenance. Call us today to schedule a routine inspection and service.