There is something nice about a roaring fire in the middle of winter right in the living room. The problem is, chimney fires are very common. According to ctsweep.com, there are 25,000 chimney fires in the United States every year. This cost $120 million in property damage. Your home insurance may cover this. However, it also may not. Preventing loss and fires is a key job for any homeowner.
How to Keep Your Chimney Clean
Creosote is a material that builds up along the interior walls of a chimney. This occurs whenever a fire burns. It is a thick, heavy material that is combustible. As a result, this buildup can cause a fire to occur. It needs removal before you burn a fire to ensure your home remains safe. Here's how to do that.
Hire a Licensed Chimney Sweep
Have a licensed chimney sweep provide an initial cleaning. For those who burn a fire every day, a licensed contractor should perform this task every year. For those who burn a few fires every season, it may be possible to delay this to every other year.
Limit the Buildup, Too
You'll always want to take steps to minimize the buildup of creosote in the first place. You can do this in several ways.
- Only burn the right type of wood. Burn dried wood. Seasoned wood like this is less risky. It should be completely dry to reduce the risk of smoke. Let wood age at least six months to a year after cutting down a tree before burning it indoors.
- Use only dry kindling or newspaper to start the fire. Never use kerosene or gas. This is dangerous. It is also more likely to cause buildup.
- Avoid burning cardboard or other types of boxes in the fireplace. These, too, create more smoke and buildup.
- Use the largest logs you can. Larger logs burn longer. They also create less smoke and less need to relight the fire.
- Always ensure someone is in the home monitoring the fire. Never leave it unattended.
The only way to prevent chimney fires is through proper use and cleaning of the chimney itself. Note, too, that home insurance does not cover poor maintenance and upkeep. If your home burns as a result of this, you may not have coverage. Before you light a fire, be sure you spend some time cleaning the chimney.
Get home insurance today. Call Mosley Insurance Agency at 405.224.1000 or 800.274.2288 for a fast, free policy quote.
For more information - Fireplace Maintenance Can Reduce the Risk of Fires