Each year, many homes are lost to fires. A good number of these losses are the direct result of a flue fire. This type of fire occurs when creosote within a chimney has had time to accumulate. Creosote is created when certain types of wood are burned at high temperature, causing a thick, highly flammable, material to form. Sadly, most flue fires can be prevented with some easy maintenance and general know-how.
The best way to prevent a flue fire is to hire a professional chimney sweep once per year. These professionals can remove any amount of dangerous build-up from a chimney. Aside from making sure that your chimney is cleaned properly each year, there are certain things that can be done during a winter season to prevent creosote from developing. The first step is to know how to build the right kind of fire.
While constructing a fire may seem relatively straightforward, this isn't the case. Rather than building a large fire, try and build smaller fires that contain a larger amount of heat. This way, the debris from the fire will head directly up the chimney at a rapid pace, which will eliminate any possible build-up. Also, make sure that the wood you use is dry, not wet.
Wet wood produces a lot more soot than dry wood does. The best kind of wood to use for a fire is dry seasoned wood. Seasoned wood is not green in color, while wood that is not seasoned will take on a green appearance. Packaged logs that can be purchased in stores will produce a smaller amount of soot than any kind of natural wood. When it comes to paper, keep in mind that large gobs of paper will often cause a flue fire to break-out.
When large amounts of paper and cardboard have been burned, the result is an excessive amount of creosote. Cardboard boxes and plastic bags should never be placed inside of a fire. These items contain a vast amount of chemicals that lend themselves to creosote build-up. In addition, burning plastic and cardboard creates an intense fire that can easily blaze out of control. In short, reserve any boxes or bags for your recycling bin, not for your fireplace.
To keep your fireplace relatively clean throughout the year, try adding a small amount of salt to a fire. Salt acts as a natural cleanser that will help to remove interior build-up. While salt is a great trick, this remedy should not be used in place of a proper fireplace cleaning. Clearly, a flue fire can be easily prevented by following the steps listed in this article. While going through all of these steps may seem like a lot of trouble, watching your home go up in flames thanks to a flue fire is a lot worse.