How to Prevent Chimney Fires

Chimney fires can damage more than just the chimney on your home. If a chimney fire occurs it can catch the roof, any walls near the chimney, or any other part of the home. Once a chimney fire occurs the chimney flue must generally be completely replaced. The chimney fire will have cracked the flue tiles because all though the flue is made to vent the products of combustion, it is not meant to hold an actual fire, which is much hotter.

Chimney caps, although effective at preventing chimney fires caused by debris in the flue, do not protect against chimney fires with other causes.

Chimney caps, although effective at preventing chimney fires caused by debris in the flue, do not protect against chimney fires with other causes.

Preventing chimney fires includes many steps because there are many chimney fire causes. You must take all necessary precautions because a chimney fire can put the lives of those who live in the home in danger.  One cause of chimney fires is debris in the chimney. If birds drop in nesting material or the like, the hot products of combustion can cause the nesting material to catch on fire, resulting in a fire in the flue system. In order to prevent chimney fires from being caused in this manner, it is important to have a cap at the top of your chimney. A stainless steel chimney cap will not allow birds or bats to enter the chimney at all due to small wire mesh. A chimney cap saves the lives of animals and also prevents chimney fires.

Another cause of chimney fires is cracked chimney flue tiles. Cracked chimney flue tiles can be impossible to detect if the chimney is not swept regularly because they will be covered up by creosote. Regular chimney sweeping, with routine video inspection, can prevent chimney fires in that the video inspection will be able to reveal any cracks or missing mortar joints even, after the creosote is removed.

Should a chimney fire occur, you must call 911. It is smart to keep a chimney fire extinguisher in the home. They are basically flares which take up all of the oxygen in the chimney for a period of time in order to prevent it from burning. The cost of a chimney fire extinguisher is small in comparison to the cost of rebuilding a chimney, a chimney and a roof, or  a chimney and a portion of the home. Keeping them nearby whenever you burn a fire in your fireplace or wood burning stove is always  a good idea.

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