Temperatures are beginning to dip close to freezing in many areas of the country. Many people are beginning to use their fireplaces and wood burning stoves to keep warm on the chilly evenings, nights and mornings. Wood fires provide a lot of heat, but they unfortunately can put your home and family in danger. Have you done all that you can to prevent and prepare for a chimney fire?
Chimney Cleaning before a Flame
Before you light your first fire of the season, it is so important to have the chimney cleaned professionally. During a professional cleaning, the technician will do more than just remove the creosote that can catch fire – he or she will inspect the chimney and look for leaks or damage that could result in fires or even carbon monoxide leaking into the home.
Only Burn Quality Wood
The wood that you burn must be hardwoods – maple, oak, ash, etc. – never softwoods like pine. These woods are clean burning and will not release as much creosote into the chimney as pine does. The wood should also be seasoned for at least one year. If you are burning wood that has not been aged that long, you will need to burn creosote sticks every couple of weeks to decrease the amount of creosote that builds up in your chimney.
Invest in Extinguishing Aids
If a fire does occur, it is important that you have the extinguishing aids that you need to put the fire out before it spreads into the walls, attic and roof of your home. There are three invaluable aids that you should have in your home at all times:
Fire Extinguisher – To extinguish flames that leave the fireplace, stove or chimney.
Fire Extinguishing Sticks – These sticks look a lot like emergency flares. You toss them in your fireplace or wood burning stove to quickly gain control of the flames. The sticks suck all of the oxygen up so that the flames don't have the oxygen they need to continue spreading. This will result in a rapid cool down and soon after the fire will be out completely.
Dry Chemical Extinguishing Bags – These are small plastic bags filled with the same chemicals that are found in dry chemical fire extinguishers. The bags are tossed into the fireplace or down the chimney to put the fire out quickly.
First Things First
Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional such as Flue Doctor Chimney Service. Your wood burning season can be safe if you take all of the necessary precautions and know what to do if the fire should leave the containment of the fireplace or wood burning stove.