Cozy up to fireplace Safety
Fireplaces can add the ambiance of warmth and tranquility to your Elgin home on a chilly Sunday morning. It is important to remember if you don’t take care of your fireplace, your warmth and tranquility, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. And it can all start with the cleanliness of your chimney.
One of the best ways to prevent a disaster is to keep your fireplace clean. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 30% of heating fires are a result of unclean chimneys and equipment. This is due to a substance called creosote. Creosote is a byproduct of wood combustion that consists mainly of tar. Traces of this substance are found in the smoke that rises from open flames. When smoke is rising to the top of your chimney, it will mix with cold air and water to solidify and stick to the chimney liner. Creosote is not something that fixes itself either. It grows in a self-perpetuating cycle since it accumulates when there is lack of ventilation. This is a huge hazard because creosote is extremely flammable and can cause a destructive, deadly house fire.
Creosote forms naturally, so there is no way to completely avoid it while using your fireplace. Small amounts of presence of creosote is not the issues, it’s the buildup of this substance that is problematic. There are three stages of creosote buildup and here is how you can appropriately respond to each stage to get the best cleaning. When you decide it’s time to clean your chimney, ensure you use a trained professional.
- Stage One- A small amount of creosote is present and has a thin, flaky texture. At this stage, the coating can easily be brushed away by a technician using a specialized brush.
- Stage Two- A medium size amount of creosote is present which consents of more tar and soot. At this stage, it is a little tougher to remove the substance. To remove it, it would be most beneficial to use a rotary loop tool attached to a drill.
- Stage Three- A large amount of creosote is present which is very concentrated. It can feel either sticky and oily or hard and shiny depending if the coating is fresh. At this stage, it may actually be more cost-effective to simply replace the chimney liner than try to clean it.
Although there is no way to completely avoid creosote, you can take simple actions to slow the process of its buildup. Consider the following tips:
- Only use dry, seasoned wood in your chimney. This is wood that has been left to dry for at least 6 months
- Never burn artificial logs because they produce more combustion byproduct than regular wood
- Make sure your fire has an adequate amount of air
- Schedule an annual chimney cleaning and inspection
Unfortunately, sometimes disaster still happen despite taking the steps to prevent an accident. If your Elgin Home has experienced a fire due to creosote buildup, don’t feel you’re in this alone. We are the certified fire restoration experts and know how to bring your home back to preloss conditions. You can count on us to immediately assess the damages and begin the remediation and restoration process. For services or any questions, call our office (847) 697 8500.
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