Believe it or not, it takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing within the interior walls of your chimney to cause a potential chimney fire. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) estimates that there are about 26,000 fireplace or chimney fires each year with thousands of injuries, even hundreds of deaths, as a result of the fires spreading to the structure of the homes.
With winter quickly approaching and the anticipation of enjoying your fireplace on those cold blustery days, make sure you and your family is safe from the dangers.
So, how exactly does a chimney cleaning or chimney sweep help avoid chimney fires?
Chimney cleaning removes soot, blockage and creosote built-up from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber and damper. The cleaning will then allow the chimney system to operate safely and efficiently.
The residue deposits, referred to as soot or creosote, are a highly combustible substance that builds up inside your chimney or liner as a result of burning wood. The rate of accumulation can vary depending on the type of wood you burn, how you burn, and if your fireplace is structurally sound.
Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to safely contain wood-fuel fires while heating the home. The chimney system has the job of expelling the by products of combustion or the substances produced when wood burns which include smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog and assorted minerals. As you burn wood in your fireplace or wood stove, the smoke created travels upward through the chimney and begins to cool and condense. The condensation leads to smoke particles binding together to form a flaky or gummy substance on the inside of the chimney. This substance is known as creosote.
Creosote is highly flammable. Even a single spark that travels up the chimney and ignites it can cause a strong raging fire within a matter of minutes. This spark can be caused by throwing paper products into the wood flame.