During New England winters, it is ideal to be cuddled up by your fireplace during a cold night. Though without proper precaution and maintenance, your cozy warm night can turn into a disaster. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, an average of 17,600 chimney fires happen annually in the United States.
Follow along as the fire and soot restoration experts at Soil-Away go over chimney fire prevention tips so you can feel safe and secure with your family around the fire this winter season.
Leading Causes of Chimney Fires
Almost all chimney fires are preventable.
- Infrequent sweeping: The number one cause of chimney fires is failure to sweep your chimney correctly. Without sweeping your chimney regularly, debris that builds up can end up catching fire. Though this is the most common cause, other variables can contribute to a chimney fire.
- Wet or unseasoned wood: When you burn damp or unseasoned wood, it is likely to bubble because the wood does not have cracks and the bark is still attached. Because of the level of moisture fresh wood has, it causes much more smoke as it burns.
- Prolonged burning: You should never leave your fire smoldering at a low temperature, even if you are present. When burning slowly, the smoke, soot, and gasses are not able to escape quickly, causing tar to build up.
Signs of a Chimney Fire
Chimney fires are not predictable. It is essential to know the signs of a chimney fire so you can take the proper precautions to get out of your home and call for help.
- Loud roaring, popping, cracking, or rumbling noises coming from your chimney
- Embers coming back down your chimney
- Flames, smoke, or sparks coming out of the top of your chimney
- The walls of the chimney and around the chimney are hot to touch
Chimney Fire Prevention
Now that you know the causes and signs of a chimney fire, the most important thing is knowing how to prevent them before they happen.
- Regularly sweep your chimney; the amount of times needed is based on use and type of fuel
- Do not use wood with over a 17% moisture content
- Never overload your fireplace
- Check chimney exterior for cracks and mold
- Ensure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the room
- Do not interrupt or block air supply
For more information regarding chimney fire clean-up in your home, be sure to call the fire and soot restoration experts at Soil-Away today!