Regular cleanings through the season when you use the fireplace or stove the most will reduce your chances of having a chimney fire. One reason is that creosote is very flammable and if you use creosote and soot inhibitors, this will help to reduce the effects of build up. If you have had a fire, it is important to have your chimney inspected by a certified professional chimney inspector prior to using the fireplace or stove again, to ensure that there is not further damage and repairs needed.
Heating with wood has become very popular again due to the continued rising of fuel costs. However, with the increase in wood-heating equipment creates the necessity for continued and careful attention to your fireplace or stove to ensure that the equipment is safe and efficient. Unfortunately the last place though of is the chimney, which is where the most build up occurs.
Some basic tips for keeping your chimney is good repair, is first, fires burn very hot which can damage a chimney. Specifically, the heat can warp the metal and crack the tile liner if it is a masonry chimney. Second, should you experience a chimney fire, never pour water into the chimney as the rapid cooling could cause more damage to the tile liner or warp the metal. Once the fire has been extinguished, it is critical to hire a certified professional to check the chimney for damage such as warped metal or a cracked tile liner.
Some consequences for not repairing cracks or hole in the flue should you experience another chimney fire could be even more dangerous than the previous fire. Specifically, sparks are generated by fire on a normal fire. If you have experienced a fire and have not made the proper repairs, these sparks could go through the cracks or holes into the attic or framework that surrounds your chimney resulting is a more damaging house fire where the loss could be extreme.
In order to avoid this from occurring, establishing a regular cleaning schedule for your chimney will reduce the creosote buildup in your chimney reducing your chances of having a chimney fire. The frequency of your cleanings will largely depend on how often you use your fireplace or stove and the type of unit, what type of wood you use and the way in which you use your stove or fireplace.
Having a fireplace or stove can help to reduce the cost of heating your home; however, ensure that you are taking the proper steps so that you do not fall victim to a chimney fire, or even worse, a house hire.