Wood stoves are used in many homes – it can heat the house and also provide a cosy ambience at the same time. When you use your wood stove, the flue system needs to be maintained regularly. This is necessary to prevent chimney fires. In the event of a chimney fire, you should call emergency services as soon as possible. A chimney fire can spread quickly to other parts of the house.
What Is a Chimney Fire?
A chimney fire is a fire in the chimney that can occur for various reasons. One of the most common reasons is soot collecting in the chimney. Soot formation can occur due to incomplete combustion. The unburnt fuel particles can stick to the chimney wall. A build-up of these particles can cause sparks to set the chimney on fire.
A chimney fire can also be caused by a bird’s nest in your chimney. Make sure that no birds can nest in your chimney. When lighting the stove for the first time after the summer, make sure there are no bird nests in your flue or chimney. Chimney fires can also be caused by burning that’s too wet or painted, not enough ventilation, or a damaged flue.
Recognizing a Chimney Fire
You can usually hear and see a chimney fire. When a chimney fire is burning, inside the chimney, you’ll hear a noise that sounds like the wind is blowing in your chimney. Outside, you may be able to see considerable amounts of smoke or sparks coming out of the chimney. These sparks can land on the roof, causing the fire to spread further.
What to Do During a Chimney Fire?
If you discover that you have a chimney fire, you can extinguish the fire in the stove with salt, sand or soda. Do not use water. The water will convert to steam, which causes rapid cooling in the chimney. The chimney may rupture due to the rapid cooling. Then make sure that the air supply to the stove is cut off. Don’t forget to call the fire brigade.
Once you have extinguished the fire, make sure that the room is immediately ventilated. This will prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide. You cannot smell carbon monoxide, but it is a dangerous inhalable gas that has serious consequences. Of course, you need to make sure that you and your pets safe by leaving the building.
Preventing Chimney Fires
Chimney fires can be prevented by taking several different steps. For example, you can have your chimney swept every year and consider burning clean, dry wood.
Hiring a Chimney Sweep
You can reduce the risk of a chimney fire by hiring a chimney sweep. It is advisable to have your chimney swept at least once a year by a company that is a member of the general chimney sweep union (ASPB). Companies affiliated with the ASPB are certified and have liability insurance.
The chimney sweep uses a special chimney sweep brush to clean the flue. Depending on the length of the chimney, a chimney sweep can sweep the chimney within 20 to 30 minutes. If you have used a chimney sweep, keep the invoice somewhere safe. In the event of a claim for damages against the insurer as a result of a chimney fire, the insurer may ask for it.
You can also also sweep your chimney yourself. You can easily do this when you have a chimney sweep set. You can buy a chimney sweep set at a home improvement store or online. When sweeping, always pay attention to your own safety when climbing on the roof.
Many chimney fires are caused by poor firing habits. If you burn painted or wet wood, you will pollute the chimney. Accumulation of soot increases the risk of a chimney fire. In addition, firing painted or wet wood causes more environmental pollution and inconvenience for the neighborhood. When you fire up your wood stove, make sure that your wood is dry and clean. Good firewood includes wood from trees like oak or birch trees. It is advisable not to use resin-rich wood. This increases the risk of soot formation in your chimney.