When it’s freezing outside, It’s only natural that you’d want to keep yourself warm. A chimney allow you to enjoy the warmth and be comfortable in your home. However, While chimneys are assumed to pose no risks at all, they can be a source of fire outbreaks in your home. As such, it’s essential to properly maintain them so that they serve you right and don’t cause a fire. Here are five safety tips to consider when using chimney
Inspect Your Chimney
Before you light the first fire during the cold season, inspect the chimney for loose bricks or cracks. If there are any, have a mason or a chimney professional rectify them.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that chimneys and fireplaces be inspected and swept at least once a year to check for cracks, missing bricks, and remove soot and creosote.
The flue damper, the plate before the plate just above the fireplace, should be working correctly. Ensure no foreign objects are preventing it from opening and closing so that your furnace doesn’t lose heart.
Use a Chimney Cap
A chimney cap keeps out unwanted materials from entering through the chimney. These could be rain, snow, or birds. It also acts as a spark arrestor preventing the hot embers and sparks from landing on your roof. While you’re at it, see that the cap is in good condition. Hiring a professional to clean and maintain your chimney is much advised.
Clear the Area
Outside, trim hanging trees that are dangerously close to the chimney. These could catch fire and start a chimney fire. Additionally, limbs restrict the free flow of air into your fireplace.
During storms with winds, the overhanging branches can break off and destroy the chimney and the roofing. Consider hiring an expert to help you trim hanging branches and limbs.
Check for Any Creosote Buildup
Creosote is a black residue resulting from the burning of wood or fossil fuels. It collects in the flue over time when you light fires. When it is not removed, it builds up, forming a thick, tar-like coating.
Creosote easily ignites at 451 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily exceed 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is an inferno that rapidly incinerates your chimney, creating a fire that can cause loss of property, loss of life, or serious injuries resulting from burns. To prevent creosote buildup, consider hiring a professional to do an annual chimney sweep before the heating season.
Use Seasoned Wood Only
Apart from producing crackling fire and taking longer to dry, seasoned wood is dangerous to use in your fireplace. It produces a lot of smoke, and the fire is of low temperature. Consequently, the flue is colder and causes creosote buildup.
You may not be able to prevent chimney fires and accidents 100%, but the above tips can help you go a long way in keeping your family and property safe.