The winter season is coming! Insulate your windows, finish up your kitchen estimates and get your new kitchen remodel and bathroom remodel finished up! In just a few weeks snow will be falling and it will be time to grab a blanket, some hot cocoa, and light a nice warm fire in your fireplace. Before you do, however, it’s important that you’re being safe. Each year, many homes are lost to fires, and a good number of these losses are the direct result of flue fires. Fortunately, having dealt with flue fires before, we here at Mihalko’s Fire and Water Restoration know that most flue fires can be prevented with some easy maintenance and general know-how.
Flue fires occur when the creosote from burnt wood has had time to accumulate within your chimney. Creosote is the result of certain types of wood being burned at high temperature, causing a thick, highly flammable, material to form. The best way to prevent a flue fire is to hire a professional chimney sweep once per year. Professional chimney sweeps know the ins and outs of fireplace maintenance and can remove any amount of dangerous build-up from almost any chimney. Although, while hiring a professional will always work, there are also many ways in which you can prevent flue fires on your own, like taking precautionary measures when creating a fire and choosing which materials you will burn.
While constructing a fire may seem relatively straightforward, this really isn’t the case. Rather than building a large fire, try and build a smaller fire that emits a greater amount of heat. This way the debris from the fire will head directly up the chimney at a rapid pace, thus eliminating any possible build-up. Additionally, make sure that the wood you use is dry and 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. Another option is using a pre-packaged log. Pre-packaged logs can be purchased in stores and will produce a smaller amount of soot than any kind of natural wood.
When it comes to burning 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. The reason? Cardboard boxes, as well as plastic material, contain a vast amount of chemicals that lend themselves to creosote build-up. Burning plastic and cardboard can create an intense fire that can easily blaze out of control. Reserve any boxes or bags for your recycling bin, not for your fireplace.
The winter season should be a cozy time of little worry. This is why it’s important to make sure you’re fireplace is clean and ready to use before its time to use it! Unfortunately, when it comes to dealing with fire, sometimes accidents will happen. And when they do, call a family company you can trust. Call a company that has been helping its neighbors in Johnstown PA, Latrobe PA and Altoona PA for over 34 years. Call Mihalko’s Fire and Water Restoration for your fire restoration needs.