The wood you choose can affect the amount of creosote buildup on your chimney walls. The standard chimney inspection with a cleaning from a sweep costs about $150 to $350. An insulated flue liner will prevent flue temperatures from getting too cool—a condition that could encourage fire by-products to condense and form creosote. But sometimes problems happen anyway. It closes off the fireplace when you don’t have a fire going, and swings up to open the flue when needed. Season your firewood by stacking it outside and letting it sit for at least six months. Using accelerants is not a safe way to start a fire, as they are highly combustible and do not burn clean. Lake Region Insurance Agency51 Main Street SNew London, Minnesota 56273, Lake Region Insurance Agency1690 1st Street SWillmar, Minnesota 56201, Lake Region Insurance Agency330 Broadway Ave SCokato, Minnesota 55321. Murphysboro Fire Chief Steve McBride says the fire department responds to at least two chimney fires a year. If you think you had or have a chimney fire, even a small one, always call 911. The good news is chimney fires can be prevented. Products to prevent chimney fires. When chimney fires occur in masonry chimneys - whether the flues are an older, unlined type or are tile lined to meet current safety codes - the high temperatures at which they burn (around 2000' F) can "melt" mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage the outer masonry material. And remember to always keep the damper (a metal plate in the flue that regulates the draft) open during a fire to maintain adequate airflow. But it’s easy to avoid chimney fires and costly repairs by: Burning seasoned wood only. This situation creates a cooler, dirtier fire. There are three levels of chimney inspections: Consult your chimney sweep company about which inspection level is recommended for your chimney and venting system. At the same time, get unseasoned wood for the following winter. It is much more straightforward to repair cracks in mortar joints or masonry than to replace a warped flue. If you’re using it daily, like a wood … These tragedies are often preventable: Failure to regularly inspect, repair, and clean a chimney can cause it to malfunction or collect dangerous build-up that puts your family at risk. A firefighter can make sure your home is safe. For chimney fires, the fuel is the creosote and the match is an overly hot fire in … The cap will also prevent “back puffing,” whereby escaped smoke from a fire re-enters the chimney and then the home. Having your fireplace and chimney cleaned once each year will help to eliminate fire hazards due to creosote and other materials, like pine needles, leaves, and animal nests. Level 2 ($100 to $500) includes video scanning of internal chimney surfaces. Sometimes these fires burn themselves out, but they still can damage the chimney. This highly... 2. today for a free insurance review and policy quote. Ways to Prevent Chimney Fires Install a Chimney Liner. The best way to keep a chimney fire from happening is to prevent the build up of creosote and here are a couple of products that can aid you in that effort. This highly flammable, dark brown substance coats chimney walls when by-products of a fire (smoke, vapor, and unburned wood) condense as they move from the hot fireplace or wood stove into the cooler chimney. This happens when the fire isn’t hot enough, or your chimney is too short. Hot, smoky air rises through the center of the chimney, the flue, and out of your house. © Copyright 2020, Lake Region Insurance Agency | Privacy Statement | Login. Chimfex and Fire-Ex are products that work by quickly reducing the available oxygen in the flue to starve the fire. Use the Right Firewood. Regular chimney inspections and cleanings help prevent fires … Sweeping chimneys can help to avoid very serious problems like chimney fires. Hardwoods like oak, ash, and elm are excellent firewood choices because they burn hotter and longer than softwoods. Get enough seasoned wood to last through this winter. Avoid softwoods like fir, pine, and cypress. They occur when the creosote is hot enough to burn, but there isn’t enough to cause a big blaze. RELATED: 14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Your House Down. Keep your wood stack in a sheltered area or cover it in wet weather. It can line the chimney and flue over time, and under the proper conditions, it can ignite. Check for any soot buildup and remove it, clean the interior of your fire place, inspect the chimney and its cap, and consider using fire screens to help keep any lit fires inside your fireplace. Consider keeping a chimney fire extinguishing product on hand. As a result, this causes a fire to break out inside your chimney. According to the annual report produced by the Department for Communities & Local Government, there were 7,700 chimney fires … Chimney liner kits can be purchased and installed by specialists, and they help ensure the longevity of a chimney that could be aging. Wet wood equals more smoke and less heat. Then douse the cooled wood and embers with enough baking soda to cover them completely—the sodium bicarbonate will extinguish any remaining embers. Keep reading to understand what causes chimney fires and the six best steps you can take for preventing them. Your wood needs to be dry throughout before you add it to your fire. Contact. If when you scratch a finger against a chimney wall and uncover one-eighth of an inch of build-up, it’s time for a cleaning. If you think you had or have a chimney fire, even a small one, always call 911. Hire a chimney sweep to perform this maintenance service so you know it’s done safely and correctly. Regularly clean your fireplace of ash from prior fires. Manasa Reddigari, Bob Vila, 14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Your House Down, clean their chimney without professional help, 15 Handy Things You Can Do With Ashes from Your Fireplace, 10 Things You Never Thought to Keep in Your Car, 10 Things Never to Plug into a Power Strip. Contact. After the firebox cools (for a minimum of three hours, but preferably eight), shovel the ashes into a metal container. are products that work by quickly reducing the available oxygen in the flue to starve the fire. Clean chimneys don’t catch fire. Chimney fires occur when creosote and / or soot inside the chimney catch alight. When you aren’t using the fireplace, keep the damper closed. The high water content also makes for a thicker, stickier smoke compound. You will see flames and burning pieces of creosote erupting from the top of the chimney. Inspections and cleaning by your local chimney sweep can make sure creosote is not actively building up, limiting the release of smoke and other gases. It’s so tempting to poke, prod, and add more wood to your crackling fire. in the United States, so homeowners need to monitor this. Install a Chimney Cap to Help Prevent Fire Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home. Most chimney fires happen for one simple reason: improper usage and care of wood-burning appliances. They’ll check the flue walls and identify and address any potential problems. Chimfex puts chimney fires in as little as 22 seconds. Don’t Let the Good Fires Bring on a Bad One – by Dave Lamb – dave@mychimneys.com According to the latest statistics available, there are over 25,000 Chimney Fires per year in the US that are responsible for over 125 million dollars in property damage. There are only two ways to prevent chimney fires: take away the fuel and take away the match. Keep stocking your lumber a year ahead to continue the cycle. A chimney fire occurs about 22,000 times a year in the United States, so homeowners need to monitor this. Clean your fireplace and chimney. Have your chimney serviced by a certified chimney sweep once a year. 6 Ways to Stop Chimney Fires Before They Start 1. That damage is largely due to flames in the lower chimney migrating upward to crack, warp, melt, or otherwise negatively affect the masonry or metal chimney walls. So stay on top of your chimney’s servicing needs to keep your home safe and avoid costly repairs. What Does a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy Cover? Learn how to prevent chimney fires below. once a year. • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year. If the temperature in the chimney flue (the space inside the chimney) is high enough, and the creosote build-up thick enough, creosote can catch fire—and that fire can spread and move up the flue. This substance can coat the glass on your fireplace and stick to your chimney flue’s walls. Expect to spend anywhere from $50 for galvanized metal caps to $500 or more for decorative models. Not allowing your fire to smolder. for a free review of your homeowners or other policies. Creosote is fuel for chimney fires, and if it ignites, the heat may be much higher than your chimney can withstand. Make sure a professional chimney sweep inspects your solid fuel venting system annually, and sweeps and repairs it whenever needed. Part of caring for your home is being ready to handle damages when they occur. Split the wood to speed the drying process, and stack it off the ground in a single row to increase airflow. Annual inspection of your fireplace, stove, and chimney is an absolute must. They also help to provide better air flow and better passage for the combustion process along with protecting the chimney walls form excessive smoke and heat. The damper is a metal plate in the chimney that controls the air supply to your fireplace. If you aren’t sure whether your wood is dry enough to use, measure it with a moisture meter. Make sure to open the damper when you light a fire. Overfilling your firebox, known as over-firing, can create a more massive fire than your structure can contain. Freshly-cut trees or branches contain sap, and it takes 6-12 months for logs to dry out completely. So it’s essential to be sure you have adequate coverage. Not burning trash in a fireplace or woodstove. To prevent this danger from ever occurring, follow these 7 tips to avoid a chimney fire from ever happening in your home. Not only can damaged chimneys spread fire throughout your home but build up of soot and creosote can catch fire within your chimney. Caps also prevent acidic rainwater from entering and corroding the chimney. So it’s essential to be sure you have adequate coverage. As independent agents, we access plans from many providers so that you can choose from the best options out there. THE PURPOSE OF A CHIMNEY. But sometimes problems happen anyway. The chimney that’s connected to your fireplace or wood burning stove has a critical job. You love your home and take good care of it. The biggest thing that you can do to prevent chimney fires is to have your chimney inspected by a professional every year and cleaned as needed. A blazing fireplace is an ideal solution to that problem. A small fire that burns well does not produce as much creosote as a large fire that … Level 1 ($75 to $250) includes a check of readily accessible parts of the fireplace or wood stove and chimney. It can even deter the occasional bird or bat that might find a way into your chimney. You want the maximum draft to pull airborne particles up and out of your house. How Can You Prevent Chimney Fires? The hot air rising through the chimney flue creates a draft, which is like a vacuum that draws the smoke up the chimney. Accidents happen even with chimney safety protocols in place. But adding too much wood at one time can create a blanket over the flames. Use the proper ladders when it is required to access the roof. Level 3 ($1,000 to $5,000) includes Level 1 and Level 2 inspection. Do not burn paper in your fireplace. It is a layer of protection between the chimney walls and the fire. Accidents happen even with chimney safety protocols in place. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a trusted, honest insurance agent. The main culprit of chimney fires is creosote. These wood species are fine for a bonfire outdoors, but they burn up quickly and leave excess creosote on your chimney walls. When that hardens into creosote on the chimney walls, there’s an increased risk of chimney fires. It’s highly combustible, so if the temperature inside your chimney gets high enough, the creosote will catch fire. The heat can transfer through the fireplace to the surrounding, non-fireproof parts of your home. First, a chimney liner could be necessary in helping a chimney pass inspection. How? Consider keeping a chimney fire extinguishing product on hand. You can find this simple tool for around $20 at your hardware store or online. Fortunately, if you practice the prevention tips here, that hard-working column above your fireplace or wood stove should continue to do its job of ushering smoke and other by-products out of your home, so you and yours can safely enjoy cozying up in front of the flames. A weaker one will deposit soot and creosote on your chimney’s walls. MENTOR, Ohio — As you relax in front of your fireplace and enjoy the warmth it provides, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is how clean your chimney is. Find the best local pros and compare multiple quotes for your chimney or fireplace project. The effort of maintaining your fireplace chimney is a small price to pay to avoid chimney fires. A firefighter can make sure your home is safe. Minimize creosote build-up to prevent chimney fires.. Getting chimney liners installed is important for several reasons. , can create a more massive fire than your structure can contain. Chimney maintenance is always less expensive than repair. A strong draft will carry the airborne debris to the outside. Part of caring for your home is being ready to handle damages when they occur. Hot, fast-burning fires, on the other hand, leave far less smoke, vapor, and unburned wood behind, so little to no creosote forms. However, those are only the chimney fires you know about. And, before retiring for the night, always extinguish the fire: Spread out the wood and embers with a fireplace poker, then cover them with the ash lying at the bottom of the fireplace using a fireplace shovel. Contact Lake Region Insurance Agency today for a free insurance review and policy quote. If your home contains a chimney and/or a fireplace, remember to inspect and maintain it regularly. Some people have described a sound like a plane taking off. They’ll check the flue walls and identify and address any potential problems. Use dry wood. Great people, very patient and quick ti get to you if they are busy! Schedule an annual chimney inspection.. Because many defects that lead to chimney fires, such as a cracked flue... 3. Chimfex and Fire-Ex are products that work by quickly reducing the available oxygen in the flue to starve the fire. The heat can transfer through the fireplace to the surrounding, non-fireproof parts of your home. There are more than 25,000 chimney fires incurring $125 million-plus in property damage every year in the United States. If your wood is wet or not fully cured, it will not burn as hot as dry wood. Green wood burns much cooler than seasoned wood, and as a result the smoke is more likely to condense on the inside of the chimney and cause creosote buildup. The best way to prevent a chimney fire is to have an annual inspection performed by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. This habit will help to insulate your home from outside temperatures. The main culprit of chimney fires is creosote. Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY. This will prevent the buildup of creosote and possibly avoid a dangerous fire. Keep your chimney clean – It is extremely important and cannot be emphasized enough to have your chimney professionally cleaned at a minimum of once per year. Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage or destroy homes and injure people. To avoid a wet flue, have a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) install a chimney cap (e.g., Shelter Galvanized Steel Chimney Cap, $39.90 on Amazon). You agree that BobVila.com may process your data in the manner described by our Privacy Policy. By Manasa Reddigari and Bob Vila. To avoid a disaster in your house, keep the following tips in mind. If you’re just starting, look for wood that is already seasoned. A professional chimney cleaning costs between $100 and $350 and usually includes a sweep of the outside of the chimney along with the firebox, the smoke shelf, the smoke chamber above the firebox, the flue, and the flue liner. You’ll hear a sound like a large bonfire coming from the chimney. The bottom line is that dirty chimney’s cause chimney fires. And chimney fires damage structures, destroy homes and can seriously injure or kill people. A chimney cap on the crown around the outside opening of the flue will keep debris and critters out. Your chimney won’t catch fire if it’s clean. Low-temperature, slow-burning fires, particularly those left to smolder overnight, produce more smoke and leave behind more unburned combustible material. There’s nothing like a warm fire on a chilly winter night. In the most severe cases, chimney fires can destroy houses and put lives at risk. Always stick to the best fire starters when selecting fuel, kindling, and tinder. Lake Region Insurance Agency Provides Auto / Car Insurance, Home Insurance, Business / Commercial Insurance, and Life and Health Insurance to All of Minnesota, Including New London, Willmar, and Cokato. Build Small Fires. Creosote is a thick, flaky residue that can coat the walls of the chimney. Your chimney removes smoke from your home while providing fresh air to feed the fire in the fireplace. But did you know that over 40% of house fires in Ireland are caused by a chimney catching fire? Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Leaves and animal nests inside a flue can quickly fuel a chimney fire when touched by loose embers from a fire. As the article suggests, it is a good idea to keep a chimney fire extinguisher, such as Chimfex on hand. “Sometimes, people don't do the maintenance of keeping their fireplace clean, especially the flue,” said Jerry Craddock. This creosote coating is highly flammable and, given enough heat, will ignite causing a chimney fire. Chimney Fires Can Be Prevented. How Do I Purchase Private Health Insurance For My Family. And if your chimney’s flue liner (the layer between the flue and chimney walls) is uninsulated, it’s recommended to insulate it by either wrapping a heat-resistant insulation blanket around the liner or pouring an insulation mix like vermiculite (available at hardware stores and on Amazon for $10 and up) into the space between the flue liner and flue. The fact is that clean chimneys simply don’t catch fire. By the time you need it next year, your wood will be ready. Fireplace safety: Keep a glass or metal screen in front of fireplace to prevent embers or sparks jumping out. Have Your Chimney Inspected Annually – Annual chimney inspection can prevent chimney fires. To minimize creosote build-up, only burn seasoned hardwood that has dried for at least six months and contains a moisture content of no more than 20 percent, which you can easily test with a wood moisture meter (available online and at hardware stores for $30 and up, like this General Tools option on Amazon). It’s important to minimize creosote build-up in your chimney, which is often the start of chimney fires. It will also … Because many defects that lead to chimney fires, such as a cracked flue liner, aren’t visible to the naked eye, it’s crucial to have a Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified chimney sweep inspect your fireplace or woodstove, chimney, and venting system once a year. You love your home and take good care of it. However, proper chimney maintenance decreases the risk of these fires. He says chimneys should be inspected each year by a … Resinous woods leave a byproduct, called creosote, behind in the chimney when they burn. However, budget-conscious DIYers willing to get up on a ladder can also clean their chimney without professional help by using a wide chimney brush. The easiest way to prevent chimney fire is by having the chimney professionally cleaned every year, especially if you burn pine or other resinous woods. As independent agents, we access plans from many providers so that you can choose from the best options out there. According to the National Fire Protection Association, around 25 percent of all home-heating fires are caused by creosote buildup in chimneys – a serious statistic if you use wood to produce heat on a regular basis. Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane. While some homeowners opt to put in a chimney cap themselves, self-installation may void the warranty—it may be worth it to call a pro. Contact Lake Region Insurance Agency for a free review of your homeowners or other policies. The first time you light up your fireplace there is a chance for a fire to spark if there are complications left over from the previous winter, such as a build up of creosote. This pro will inform you of any damage and, if desired, repair it as well as remove soot, creosote, or obstructions such as bird nests. Visit us in Cokato, Willmar, or New London, MN, to get a quote today. Fill the metal container with water and store it outside the home away from other flammable materials until you’re ready to discard them. Slow-burning chimney fires are common. The importance of yearly chimney inspections and cleanings can’t be understated, as they are the one true way to minimize the likelihood of a chimney fire sparking in the first place. Chimney fires are often the result of defects and damage to your chimney and a chimney inspection can detect areas which need attention, though they may not be … in Cokato, Willmar, or New London, MN, to get a quote today. And then be sure to have a certified professional do a chimney inspection to check for damage. The best way to burn a clean fire is to use the top-down burn method: Place the large logs vertically at the bottom of the fireplace or wood stove (with the bottoms of the logs facing you), add four to five horizontal layers of kindling, then top with tinder and light. Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least 3 feet from your home. To avoid a disaster in your house, keep the following tips in mind. A chimney liner is a great thing to prevent chimney fires. What Should I Do If I Have a Chimney Fire? Chimney fires cause property damage and put lives at risk every year. Unseasoned, or green, wood is the main cause of creosote buildup, so the easiest way to reduce the chances of a chimney fire is to use well-cured wood. But did you know that your fireplace ambiance comes with a maintenance requirement? Copyright © 2020 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved. Consider keeping a chimney fire extinguishing product on hand. A chimney sweep is the best solution, and homeowners should considering getting one on an annual basis. ...they find what policy you need and are very pleasant while doing so. How To Prevent Chimney Fires It is recommend by all experts to have your chimney serviced and cleaned prior to the cold season when it will be getting a lot of use. If the fire is contained within the flue system, move on to chimney fire-specific extinguishment methods. Thick, dense smoke may push down the chimney and into the house. Wait until the ash is cool and be sure to store in a fire-safe container such as a metal bucket. For the following winter increase airflow fires can destroy houses and put at!, produce more smoke and leave behind more unburned combustible material trusted, honest Insurance agent Health! Draft will carry the airborne debris to the best local pros and compare multiple quotes for your home t a. Needs to be sure you have adequate coverage, so homeowners need to monitor.... 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