Fireplace chimney fires are a serious concern in the United States, with thousands of fires occurring each year. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 22,600 chimney fires in the United States in 2018, resulting in $142 million in property damage.
One of the main causes of fireplace chimney fires is the build-up of creosote, a flammable substance that can accumulate in the chimney as a result of burning wood. If not properly cleaned and maintained, the creosote can ignite and cause a chimney fire.
There are several steps that homeowners can take to prevent chimney fires:
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly: It is recommended to have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a certified chimney sweep. This can help remove any build-up of creosote and other debris that can cause a fire.
- Use dry, seasoned wood: Wet or green wood can produce more creosote and increase the risk of a chimney fire. Be sure to use dry, seasoned wood that has been stored in a dry place.
- Use a chimney cap: A chimney cap can help prevent debris from entering the chimney and can also prevent birds and other animals from nesting inside.
- Install a chimney liner: A chimney liner can help prevent chimney fires by providing an additional layer of protection against the heat and flames.
- Follow proper burning techniques: Be sure to follow proper burning techniques, such as using the correct size of firewood and not allowing the fire to burn too low.
It is important for homeowners to take the necessary steps to prevent fireplace chimney fires and to make sure their chimneys are properly maintained. By following the guidelines outlined above, you can help protect your home and your family from the dangers of chimney fires.
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). (2019). Chimney fires. Retrieved from https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/US-Fire-Problem/Fact-sheets/Factsheets-pdf/ChimneyFactSheet.pdf