It is that time of the year again. As temperatures drop in West Michigan, fireplaces and wood stoves begin to come back into use. That means that chimney fires become a concern for many homeowners. Chimney fires are caused by creosote, a combustible substance that is formed by gases during the burning process. This substance hardens to the chimney liner and poses a serious fire risk. Here are some ways that you can prevent chimney fires:
1. Clean your chimney: It is very important that your chimney is inspected every year. Making sure your chimney is safe and cleaning it when it becomes a possible hazard is a great way to prevent a fire.
2. Use dry wood: If your wood is wet, it will not burn as hot as dry wood and will produce much more smoke. This increase in smoke can lead to an increase in creosote production.
3. Burn the hardest firewood you can find: Softer wood tends to increase the production of creosote in your chimney. This is often due to the amount of pitch in softer wood such as pine.
4. Try to burn at the right temperature: It is best when using a wood stove to have a temperature gauge that ensures you remain in the "burn zone".
5. Use a creosote remover powder: This powder is to be placed on the wood and burned at a high temperature. It helps to turn the creosote that may be forming in the chimney into powder to reduce buildup.
All of these tips can reduce your chances of a chimney fire, but the most important one is the first. Always make sure your chimney is inspected and cleaned regularly to ensure the safety of your household.