It’s that time of the year when it’s cold outside in Michigan and soon the kids will be home from school and begging for a fire in the fireplace. It’s been a while since you’ve had the fireplace cleaned, but you figure, one fire – how could it hurt?
Chimney fires cause over 25,000 fires each year. The devastation and heartache that can result from a chimney fire are significant. A chimney fire can sound like a locomotive running through your living room. Or it can be slow, quiet and undetected. Either way, chimney fires are both dangerous and preventable. Here are some 5 rules to follow when it comes to using your chimney.
Rule 1. Have your chimney cleaned. In fact, it’s good to call for service RIGHT NOW. Prevent a fire while you can! A cleaning or inspection typically runs anywhere between $125 – $250. During prime time, it may run a little more. Calling a contractor now, when it’s not an emergency, is your best bet.
Rule 2. Burn seasoned wood. Also known as “clean” wood, seasoned wood has been drying for a year or more. It produces flames more easily without the smoke. And by all means, don’t be tempted to add the dry evergreen branches you may use during the holiday season to decorate your house! These branches often add spark, creating a chimney fire.
Rule 3. Keep your damper fully open. That means even after the fire has gone out. There may still be some burning embers in the fire which can cause smoke. When that happens, carbon monoxide can enter the house. Be safe. Wait until the next day to close the damper.
Rule 4. Use proper starting materials. Consider buying starter logs or kindling. Rolled up newspaper logs are OK if you are certain that there are no glossy pages within the log. Don’t use cardboard. Don’t use wrapping paper. These release nasty chemicals.
Rule 5. Build smaller, hotter fires. Let them burn more completely. These fires produce less smoke.
If a chimney fire results at your house, get everyone out of the house quickly – including yourself. Then call the fire department. Later, give us a call. Restoration 1 of Metro Detroit can assess the damage to your home and give you an estimate for cleanup.