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A traditional fireplace is quite welcoming and makes the living room look very inviting. Apart from being an effective heating source, a fireplace also increases the resale value of the house considerably. That being said, the fireplaces associated with the chimney can cause various incidents of fire. Chimney fires are quite common nowadays. These can become quite catastrophic and turn out to be a major threat.
Usually, the first indication of a chimney fire is a loud roaring sound much like a low-flying airplane. In the event of a chimney fire, this sound goes on increasing in volume with every second. This can get worse if there is a breeze present.
In addition, the sure sign of a chimney fire is a cloud of black smoke emanating from the chimney that gets denser by the second. In the event of a raging chimney fire, the flames usually leap a few inches from the chimney.
Reasons Behind Chimney Fire
There can be various causes of chimney fires. One of the most common causes of chimney fires is creosote buildup. When a fire is lit in the firebox, some byproducts of the fire may escape into the room and some may get deposited along the walls of the chimney as the fumes pass out through the chimney. With time, this forms a thick layer. This layer is also known as creosote.
Creosote is a foul smelling corrosive that is highly combustible. Depending upon the byproducts and the other factors, the creosote can be fluffy or a hard layer. Sometimes, parts of this creosote may break and fall off into the fireplace. This can turn out to be a major fire hazard.
In addition to creosote buildup, an incorrect chimney design can also result in a chimney fire.
How to Prevent Chimney Fire
There are various ways to prevent a chimney fire. Let’s take a detailed look at these here.
1. Inspect and Clean Your Chimney
The first step to prevent a chimney fire involves keeping the chimney well-maintained. The chimney and fireplace are highly prone to damage owing to the fuel that the fireplace burns. However, to keep the chimney and fireplace working efficiently and prevent any chances of fire, it is important to get the chimney inspected annually. Following proper maintenance procedures can help in identifying any repairs that the chimney might require. In addition to eliminating the risk of fire, this can also help in reducing the repair costs significantly.
Regular chimney cleaning can be carried out by yourself in a few simple steps. However, seeking professional help at times is also important. If you live in Sevenoaks, you can consider hiring a professional chimney sweep in Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 for this purpose.
2. Burn Seasoned Wood
Burning wood that has been freshly cut is quite hazardous. Such wood would emanate more smoke than heat. This is caused by burning the moisture in the wood. This will increase the creosote buildup in the chimney considerably. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to season wood before burning it. This will ensure that the water content inside the wood is dried up completely. As a result, burning seasoned hardwood would only heat up the room instead of producing smoke.
3. Ensure That the Chimney Design is Adequate
A properly designed chimney will slow down the accumulation of creosote significantly. It will also be able to withstand the fire better than an inadequately designed chimney. For example, if you are using a woodstove, the chimney should either be made of insulated stainless steel or it should be made of tile-lined masonry with an air gap between the brick and tile. Additionally, there should not be any air leaks in the chimney. This is because an air leak can turn a small chimney fire into a raging one. Any sheathing should be held back from the chimney’s outer surface to prevent any chances of aggravating a chimney fire.
4. Reduce Rate of Creosote Accumulation
There are various stove attachments available that can reduce the rate of creosote buildup considerably. For example, barometric draft controls, catalytic converters etc. are used for this purpose. Installing these devices can reduce the chances of chimney fire considerably.
Implementing these steps will eliminate the chances of a chimney fire.