Fireplaces are a feature that many homeowners love to enjoy for a variety of reasons. From entertaining guests and gathering with family, to warm, romantic nights during the winter months. Some people even consider their fireplace a necessity. Unfortunately, fireplaces require special, regular care to work properly and prevent any fires in your chimney. When you light a fire, you’ll be left with ashes that need to be cleaned out regularly. Even though there are no ashes left in the fireplace, there is unburned wood energy (creosote) inside the chimney. Any fireplace that leaves something unburned will increase your risk of an unexpected fire.
Decrease Your Risk for a Chimney Fire
While nobody is given a guarantee that a house fire will never happen, the risk of one occurring can be reduced and preventative measures taken.
Heating equipment is primarily responsible for house fires (it’s the second leading cause) according to the NFPA. Even more, 2 out of 3 fires caused by heating equipment include appliances such as wood stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys. Creosote deposits are typically the reason chimney fires occur and this is often due to poor chimney maintenance. If you have your chimney inspected regularly and keep it maintained (fix issues immediately, etc.) you can lower your risks for a house fire significantly.
Keep Your Chimney Clean & Maintained
Over time your chimney will develop soot and creosote buildup so it’s important that you have it cleaned regularly. While we can’t offer a certain time as to the best time to have your chimney cleaned, you can easily determine this on your own. How often you use it will also play a role in how often it should be cleaned. Your chimney will never be (and there is no need for it to be) 100% clean and free of creosote. But, if you don’t clean it regularly the creosote will become a hard glaze and be tougher to remove and your risk will increase for chances of a house fire.
Monitoring Your Chimney
There are going to be obvious signs of possible creosote-related problems, such as soot-covered furniture, dark smoke flowing out of the chimney and smoke coming into your home. This isn’t always the case; again, it depends on how much you use your chimney. You should be able to determine how often your own chimney needs to be cleaned by paying attention to your burning habits. How many fires before there is enough creosote accumulation to be cleaned? Either way, it’s important that you always keep an eye on the buildup to lower the risk for a chimney fire.
Unless you want to end up on the list of house fire statistics, it’s important that you have your chimney inspected regularly and maintain it year after year. A professional chimney inspector will examine the inside and the top of the chimney. It doesn’t require a whole lot of time to do this correctly; two or less hours. Because you will likely use it more in the cooler months, consider having a professional come inspect it just before those cooler months arrive; allow enough time to repair it should the inspector find something that needs attention. There is no excuse not to have your chimney looked after. If you want to keep your home and family safe and not become worried every time you use the fireplace, have it inspected regularly and maintain it well.
If you believe your chimney should be inspected or is in need of repairs, we can help. Contact C & C Air Services for all your chimney needs!