Winter Cleaning Tips to Keep You Safe from Fire Damage
A fireplace is a wonderful thing to have where people gather for warmth and companionship. A lit fireplace provides a wonderful ambiance to any room, and even more fantastic to have during really severe cold weather, such as blizzards and ice storms. The mantel is a great place to display pictures of family and friends or decorations for celebrations like Valentine’s Day or birthdays.
But a fireplace can also be dangerous if not cared for properly. Animals can build nests in your chimney during the warmer months without you ever knowing, and we can all just imagine what can happen when the first fire of the season is lit in a case like that!
Here are some precautions to think about; being prepared can greatly reduce the chance of a chimney fire in your home fireplace.
- First, do an inspection. (If you have a steep roof, then this isn’t a DIY project, and you need to enlist the help of a professional, for obvious safety reasons.) There are certified chimney sweeps throughout the country and they can easily be enlisted to help with your winter chimney cleaning project. During the inspection, you are looking for creosote buildup. It may not seem like a big deal, but it ignites at only 451 degrees and expands from there, possibly increasing temperatures to over 2,000 degrees. At that temperature, it can engulf your entire chimney and potentially destroy your home or cause some serious fire damage.
- If you are in the habit of burning green wood, make sure you have your chimney cleaned or inspected every 50 burns or so. To know whether your wood is green or not, look for moisture bubbling out from the cut ends of the log. Wet, green wood doesn’t burn cleanly and will send particles up your chimney, which in turn builds up as creosote and soot. Choose hardwoods such as oak or birch, which burn hotter and cleaner.
- A professional cleaning would include an inspection for soot build-up and for cracks or obstructions that could cause issues. Older chimneys can sometimes have gaps in the clay liner where mortar has fallen out, which causes water damage and can make your chimney unstable. If you do find yourself in need of a chimney sweep, look for someone who is insured and properly certified in your area. They will ensure that you are safe from fire damage due to an unkempt fireplace and chimney
The SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties team has years of experience dealing with fire damage, and we’re here to handle any damages in your home or business, should the worst ever happen. We also take care of water damage restoration, and keep in mind that we are also mold prevention and remediation specialists able to offer mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well.