Reducing the Chance of Chimney Fires

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated March 30, 2015)

If you own a fireplace you should be keenly aware of the risk of having a chimney fire. Chimney fires can be extremely dangerous and very frightening. The chimney creates an atmosphere for the flames of a fire to become explosive and unpredictable, these two elements create danger for the safety of your family and your home.

As wood burns in your stove or fireplace, the byproducts (smoke, carbon monoxide, etc.) stick to the inside of the chimney and create a film referred to as creosote. This film is very flammable, hence the danger of chimney fires. This article discusses how to reduce your risk of experiencing a chimney fire and how to put it out if one happens to occur.

Here are five things you can easily do to reduce your risk of a chimney fire:

  • Use extremely dry wood, sometimes referred to as "seasoned wood." The more moisture that is in your wood, the thicker and heaver the smoke becomes and the greater the chance of creosote buildup.
  • Rather than building large, very dense fires, build small fires with less wood. Working with less wood can help reduce the amount of smoke emitted by the fire, ultimately lessening the amount of creosote formed on the inside of the chimney.
  • Try to avoid burning trash, paper towels, wrapping paper, cardboard, paper bags, etc. Burning materials other than wood can increase the chance of sparks that can cause chimney fires.
  • Monitor fire temperatures with a thermometer to make sure the fire does not burn too quickly and at too high of a temperature.
  • Search your yellow pages for a professional chimney inspector and cleaner. Have your chimney cleaned an inspected at least two times a year.

If, by chance, a chimney fire does start follow the basics of putting out a fire. First, evaluate the danger of the fire. Call 911 for backup from the fire department and then evacuate your family. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand to use just in case. Use buckets or hoses to try and limit the flames from spreading.

Remember that it is a lot more cost effective and simple to practice preventative methods than it is to fix fire damage and finance repairs.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

MORE FROM DORIS

Super Quick Breadsticks

If you're in a crunch for what to make for dinner, try making some breadsticks. They are delicious and will satisfy any ...

Discover More

American Foxhound

Said to be the most versatile of the hounds, the American Foxhound possesses great stamina, nose and natural hunting ...

Discover More

Choosing the Best Black Dress

Wanting to have a functioning wardrobe? There is a staple that is a must in every wardrobe, and that is the little black ...

Discover More

Find the Right Tool Right Away Finally, a homeowner's set that includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects at an affordable price! The tools are stored in a molded case for security and portability. Check out Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Installing a Smoke Detector

It is fairly easy to install a smoke detector, and most local fire codes mandate that you have smoke detectors working inside ...

Discover More

Keep Your Home Free from Carbon Monoxide

Most people don't really think about possible carbon monoxide poisoning until it is way too late. Instead of running the ...

Discover More

Troubleshooting Fire Alarms

Fire alarms are a necessary and essential element for a safe home. But what do you do when these vital safety devices begin ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)