If you enjoy a warm, cozy fire when the weather is cool, make sure your chimney is safe. Protect your home and family, and reduce the risk of house fires when the fireplace and chimney are in good condition. Here are a few tips to prevent chimney fires.

Schedule an Annual Chimney Inspection

One of the most straightforward ways to prevent chimney fires is to have your chimney inspected at least once a year. Inspectors look for cracks, broken pieces of mortar, and damage to the interior liner. Because they check for safety, chimney inspections are an excellent way to stop chimney fires before they happen.

Install a Chimney Cap

Chimney caps keep unwanted debris, like leaves, twigs, and animal nests, out of the chimney. They also stop rainwater from getting in and causing corrosion, potentially damaging fire-resistant linings. When selecting a chimney cap, make sure to consult with a professional.

Use Chimney Liner

Although chimneys are built with materials that won’t catch fire, they still sit against the rest of your home. The structure can catch fire if too much heat is transferred from your chimney to the combustible framing nearby. An excellent way to prevent this is to use a chimney liner, which insulates structures in your home.

Clean the Chimney to Prevent Fires

As you use your fireplace, soot and creosote build up inside the chimney and can ignite. Because creosote is flammable, the more it accumulates, the more likely it is to combust and start a chimney fire. Fortunately, chimney sweeping is an excellent way to keep creosote build-up to a minimum and protect your home.

Don’t Use Chemicals in Your Fire

Don’t use ultra-flammable substances in the fire, like lighter fluid or gasoline. Although this may be a fast way to get your fire going, it can have devastating consequences. These highly combustible substances are dangerous, and the flames can quickly get out of hand.

Learn to build a fire with kindling or specially formulated fire-starter sticks.

Prevent Chimney Fires by Keeping the Flames Small

Keep your fire small by burning only a few pieces of wood at a time to help prevent chimney fires. Small fires don’t produce as much creosote and are less likely to burn out of control. Keeping a fire extinguisher on standby is also a good practice, just in case.

Chimney fires are a common cause of house fires, but most can be prevented by using the simple tips above. To improve safety, never leave a fire unattended, keep children and pets away from the flames, and have an extinguisher nearby.

American Dream Home Inspections provides inspections to homebuyers and sellers in Northern and Central New Jersey. Contact us to request our services.