ESSENTIAL CHIMNEY SAFETY
It's Chimney Fire Safety Week 2018 and now is a great time to review, and if needed update your...

ESSENTIAL CHIMNEY SAFETY

It’s Chimney Fire Safety Week 2018 and now is a great time to review, and if needed update your knowledge around chimney fire safety. It’s this time of the year when people once again start to use their fires, often after months of non-use.

This is one of the reasons why Chimney Fire Safety Week is set in early September.

Although chimney fires are falling, there is more than can be done to further reduce such. If you use your chimney, then you should at least have a basic understanding of how they work, and the possible risks and dangers that can arise. 

What causes a chimney fire?

 

  • Excess congestion, such as tar and soot despots, which can be made worse by burning unseasoned wood
  • Non-fire related debris – such as birds nests and other things, which can enter the chimney from above
  • Previous undetected chimney fires (more below) 

How to prevent a chimney fire:

 

  • Only burn seasoned wood – unseasoned wood can greatly increase the chances of a fire due to the increased tar
  • Ensure your chimney is swept at least every quarter during the winter period, and also before you intend to start using it, to ensure any accumulated debris is removed
  • Try and only have small fires – avoid filling up your stove with too much firewood
  • Ensure there is a good air supply to your stove
  • Use a chimney liner

How can you tell you have a chimney fire?

Often you will have no knowledge that you’ve had a chimney fire. A chimney fire can burn for a long time, and significantly raise the temperature inside a flue if there is a lot of tar to burn, which can catch fire with ease. This can cause structural damage due to things like cracked tile flue lining, warped metal flue lining, melted mortar, not to mention heat exchange to ceilings, walls or structural beams near the chimney. 

A chimney fire can create damage, which in turn can make cracks and air pathways into the home for carbon monoxide to spread. If damage is not repaired, a small fire in the chimney could easily spread into a devastating house fire. 

Below are the telltale signs you’ve had a fire and you may need investigation – don’t just assume as the fire is out now you’re safe.

 

  • Flakes of creosote on the ground, around the roof or in the firebox
  • Creosote that look puffy or like honey comb
  • Cracked pieces of flue tiles
  • Damaged or melted roofing material
  • A discoloured or disfigured chimney cap/rain cap or chase cover
  • Cracks in the masonry on the outside the chimney
  • Heat damage to a TV antenna or satellite dish
  • Warped metal components like a metal damper, smoke chamber connection pipe, flue liner, or factory-built chimney

If you suspect a chimney fire has taken place, you should consult the services of a relevant structural professional, who will be able to investigate and advise further on any damage. 

 

 

 

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