Worries about chimney and flue fires are common among homeowners who use fireplaces or wood stoves in their home. Unfortunately, statistics show that these concerns are warranted, especially when maintenance or repairs may not have been properly handled.
In fact, according to a study provided by the National Fire Protection Association, creosote buildup in the chimney was a factor in nearly thirty percent of the house fires that involved home heating equipment over a recent four year period. Fortunately, there are some important things homeowners can do to help reduce their risk of experiencing this type of house fire, and these tips are a great place to begin.
Start with a professional chimney or flue inspection
Having your home's flue or chimney inspected by a chimney cleaning and repair professional is important, both during the initial purchase process and at the beginning of the heating season each year.
This simple step is perhaps the most important one because it will help detect any cracking or damage that may have occurred while in use, as well as when idle due to lightning, wind, or settling of the home. During the visit, the chimney expert will also be able to clean your flue or chimney of creosote, ash, and debris and make sure that it is safe for your family to use.
Use your fireplace or heating equipment properly
Another important part of keeping your home out of the chimney fire statistics is to make sure that you use all wood stoves and fireplaces correctly. Some important tips to remember include:
- being careful not to burn paper, cardboard, or other materials
- refraining from the use of flammable liquids to start fires, such as charcoal lighter fluids, gas, or oil
- making sure that firewood is always properly seasoned to help limit creosote production
It is also important to make sure that a fire extinguisher is always ready to use and kept near the fireplace or wood stove.
Resist the temptation for DIY installation or repairs
Some house fires related to wood stoves or fireplaces are known to result from improper installation. This can lead to instances where the wood stove or fireplace insert is too large for the flue or chimney that has been installed or when care is not taken to make sure that no combustible materials come into contact with it or the exterior of the flue or chimney lining.
Keeping your family safe from the threat of a flue or chimney fire is an important goal. Homeowners who have questions about this type of fire safety should always seek out the advice of a professional flue and chimney repair and cleaning professional. For more information, talk to companies like Allstate Chimney Service.