Chimneys always seem like a relatively easy concept, right? You put the wood in, make sure the flue is open, and then light the fire. Well, there’s actually a lot more that’s going on that makes it a far more complex concept that deals with the oxidation of carbon, water, draft induced by the change in temperature, and vaporization. All of these elements, if not properly managed, can start a chimney fire.

Nearly 20 percent of all house fires begin with a wood burning appliance, whether it’s the stove or the fireplace. Which means it’s imperative that you have your wood burning appliances annually checked to ensure that each aspect of it is functioning properly and no parts are damaged. Now, with that being said, we’re going to tell you how you can prevent chimney fires in your home.

What Causes Chimney Fires?

When you look in your chimney and you see that black gunk that’s been building up, that’s called creosote. While you may think it’s simply ash left over from the burnt wood, it’s more than that, and it’s extremely hazardous. While it can be a nuisance to clean, it’s something that needs to be done. Why? Because creosote is terrifying.

If creosote is hit with the right combination of oxygen and heat, it can turn your cozy fire into a raging inferno with temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When the fire reaches that temperature, it can crack the chimney flue, damage your chimney liner exponentially, and potentially shoot sparks towards the roof.

Creosote, also known as soot, is one of the main culprits with chimney fires, which is why it’s imperative that you clean it when it begins to really build up. If you let it burn, it can cause damage besides a fire, such as stain connectors, pipes, the chimney as a whole, and the roof. Bonus, it’ll also corrode the metal parts within your chimney’s system.

Chimney Fire Alarms

One of the easiest and safest things to invest in to prevent chimney fires is a chimney fire alarm. A properly constructed chimney should come with one, but if it doesn’t, we highly recommend you get one. It comes with a flue temperature sensor that activates an audible alarm when the fire reaches a certain point and the alarm should sound well before the fire becomes a threat.

If your chimney doesn’t have an alarm, you can easily invest in one online, but keep in mind that you’re looking for a flue alarm.

Have questions about your chimney or need a new chimney liner kit? Check out our online Fireside Chimney Supply store to see if we have what you’re looking for.