0:18 What will be covered
0:23 Facts about chimney fires
1:08 Masonry Chimneys are NOT indestructible
1:43 Creosote Build Up
1:56 Recommended Inspection
2:14 Additional Prevention Tips
3:14 In the case of a Chimney Fire
Hello I am Melissa from NorthlineExpress and I would like to ask you a question. When would you say that fire season is? I bet like most people you said it is in the dry western states in the summer months. You are not wrong but there is another fire season that occurs during the fall and winter in every part of the country, chimney fire season. So In this video I will cover the facts, fiction, ignition, and prevention of chimney fires.
Let’s start with the facts about chimney fires. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission during the 3 year period of 2009-2011 each year on average there were 24,300 chimney fires, 23 lives were lost and 93 people suffered injuries. Another shocking statistic is when you hear that during that same time period each year the average amount of overall property damage was over $115 million. Those are nationwide numbers but I alone can think of three chimney fires locally in the last year, all total losses.
Fireplace and chimney fires, just like any fire, range in size and severity. They can range from thousands of dollars if a single room is damaged to even more if the entire home is lost.
There is one major belief that home owners tend to have that is very dangerous when you consider chimney fires; that masonry chimneys are indestructible. While masonry chimneys have been the standard fire place construction for hundreds of years and typically do seem to last forever they are not indestructible. Masonry chimneys can be damaged by extreme weather, shifts in the earth, and just general deterioration with age.
Even with proper construction of a chimney, it needs to be maintained with regular cleanings and inspections. You may not know it but right now there could be a serious danger lurking in your chimney, creosote buildup. Creosote buildup is a major factor in chimney fire ignition. It is a crusty tar like deposit in your chimney that is highly combustible. This is why regular chimney cleaning either by you or by a professional is very important. The National Fire Protection Association also recommends that you have your chimney inspected at least once a year by a certified professional. The only real way to know if you have a problem with your chimney is to have it inspected, unless you would rather find out the hard way while you are waiting for the firemen to arrive and put out your chimney fire.
In addition to regular cleaning and annual inspection here are some other tips to help prevent a chimney fire:
- Burn only seasoned wood. Your fireplace will burn cleaner with less chances of creosote buildup that can lead to a fire.
- Be sure not to over load your firebox. You should only stack logs to about half of the height of your fire box and flames should never be able to reach up into the chimney.
- Remember, your fireplace is not and incinerator. Do not burn thing like wrapping paper or boxes. Materials like these only will contribute to the buildup in your chimney.
- Keep an inch of ash in the bottom of your firebox. This will allow hot coals to nestle down into the ash and cool off at the end of the burn.
- Build smaller fires using hotter burning wood if possible like hickory or ash. Not only will this help you save on what you burn it also burns more completely which decreases risk of creosote buildup in chimneys.
And finally even though were talking about preventing chimney fires, if you burn if your fireplace you should be keeping 2-3 Chimfex Fire Suppressants on hand. Studies show that the Chimfex will suppress a fire in an average of 22 seconds. They work similar to a flare, just light it and toss it in to the fire. It will use the oxygen, extinguishing the fire. Its better safe than sorry should you ever experience a chimney fire. Having Chimfex around could save you from a total loss of your home situation.
I hope you have found this information helpful, but if you still have questions on preventing chimney fire or about Chimfex give us a call at 866-667-8454. At NorthlineExpress, home of the “Buy and Try” satisfaction guarantee, we are always happy to help.
Learn more about cleaning your chimney…