A fireplace is a perfect place to be in your home during the fall and winter months. Beyond the inviting warmth they can bring during the cooler seasons, they also add to this time of year by providing a level of coziness that cannot be replicated. The holidays feel more genuine and there are stories to be told and s’mores to be eaten as you make memories for a lifetime, but while fireplaces can bring warmth to your home and your heart, they can also pose a serious threat.
Chimney fires are a devastating event that causes millions of dollars in damage each year as well over 20,000 chimney fires are reported annually. A fire within your home can be a costly and deadly event. Even if you can restore the physical loss, the event itself is traumatizing and without the right home insurance coverage, can prove to be a financial nightmare. Take a look at some of the steps you can take to prevent such a tragedy from occurring in the first place with these helpful tips for preventing a chimney fire in your home.
Clean Often and Inspect Annually
The first and most important step is to ensure that proper maintenance is taking place. This means cleaning your chimney often and having it inspected once a year. The main culprits for chimney fires are creosote and soot. Creosote can be very flammable and is the leading cause of chimney fires and is created as smoke, unburned wood, and vapors move to the cooler portion of your chimney to form a thick substance that sticks to its walls. Once there is enough and it becomes hot enough, the creosote ignites and moves up your chimney causing a serious fire hazard. Soot left unchecked can also ignite and add to your worries.
Cleaning your fireplace and your chimney when buildup begins to form is a great way to avoid these events. It is also important to have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a trained professional at least once a year. If your chimney has more creosote buildup than normal or if you use your fireplace often. We will explore how you build a fire can also help reduce the amount of creosote within your chimney, but first, let’s take a look at additional flammable materials and how you can keep them away from your chimney.
Stainless Steel Chimney Caps Contain Embers and Keep out Animals
While it may be impossible to keep creosote and soot out of your fireplace while using it, you can help prevent other unwanted materials and guests. Chimneys make great places for birds to build their nests and squirrels to explore. Beyond the terrible ideas of small animals entering your home or worse, burning to death in your chimney, they add to the threat of developing a deadly chimney fire.
Cleaning out your chimney will help in this endeavor but preventing animals from entering in the first place is the best route to take. By installing a stainless steel chimney cap you help keep small animals out of your chimney and reduce the amount of flammable debris within. Another great benefit of stainless steel chimney caps can also help your home contain embers and hold up against higher temperatures.
Build Your Fires With Seasoned Wood and Proper Technique
Reducing the amount of creosote within your chimney starts well before you clean or inspect it. The wood you use and how you build a fire can go a long way in determining how much creosote and soot is created as a result. Using seasoned wood or starter logs approved by the CSIA can help cut back on the amount of negative by-product your fires produce.
The way you build and maintain your fire will also affect the way creosote and soot enter your chimney. Fires that are low and slow-burning will create more creosote and faster, hotter fires will create less. Furthermore, fires left unextinguished from the night before will spend their time slow-burning and releasing more and more harmful creosote that builds up in your chimney. Be sure to extinguish any fire not in use to prevent this issue.
Protect Your Home From Fires With a Home Insurance Policy
Following these steps are great ways to help reduce your chimney fire risk but if you use your fireplace, remember, there is always a risk. Protecting your loved ones and your home is imperative and enrolling in the right home insurance policy is a great way to ensure that should the worst imaginable come to be, you’ll be prepared to handle it. At TGS Insurance we help homeowners protect what they love the most against fires with home insurance policies that fit your needs while saving you money. We work with a range of top-rated insurance carriers to shop for you and find the maximum coverage at the lowest rate available. You can even bundle with an auto policy for further savings. Don’t let everything you love go up in smoke. Contact us and see how you can protect your home and save today!