Before chimneys came along, keeping your home warm meant building a fire pit. You’d have to cut a hole in your roof for the smoke to escape.
Even then, you’d still have to live and work in a fairly smoky environment, while also contending with an open fire in the middle of your home.
Then came the Middle Ages, and with them the chimney, forever changing the way we heat our homes. Yet even after 900 years, we still haven’t perfected the chimney.
Chimney fires cause millions in property damage each year, destroying homes, putting lives at risk and leading to countless Cumberland County, NJ smoke claims for insurance companies.
Yet there are ways you can protect your home and your family and ensure your chimney does its job. Here are a few different ways you can prevent chimney fires and smoke damage.
1. Keep the fires low
The main cause of chimney fires is a substance called creosote, which is produced when smoke and vapor condense along the walls of your chimney.
If the temperature in your chimney gets hot enough and the creosote build-up is thick enough, the creosote can catch fire. But if you build smaller fires in your chimney, you’ll get less smoke and soot, and therefore less creosote.
2. Use dry, seasoned wood
If you’re new to using a chimney, you should know that you can’t just walk into the woods, pick up a bunch of brush and use it to heat your home.
Wood that’s wet, or too green, will burn slowly and create a lot of smoke, which leads to creosote build-up. Always use dry, seasoned wood – at least six months old – to build fires in your chimney.
3. What not to burn
As tempting it might be, never use lighter fluid or other flammable liquids to get your fire going. It’s very easy for the flames to get out of hand and spread up the walls of the chimney
And avoid burning material such as paper, wrapping paper or other refuse in the fireplace. These things can waft up the chimney and set the creosote on fire.
4. Install a chimney cap and chimney liner
Chimney caps keep unwanted guests out of your chimney. A bunch of twigs or a pile of leaves falling down your chimney or a bird deciding to build its nest can easily lead to a fire.
And a chimney liner can improve air flow, allow exhaust to escape and protect the structure of the chimney from heat. It makes your chimney easier to clean and less susceptible to damage.
5. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year
A dirty chimney can send smoke and soot into your home, something we’ve seen numerous times when responding to Cumberland County, NJ smoke claims. Worse still, a chimney that’s been damaged or hasn’t been cleaned in awhile might contain some pretty excessive creosote build-up, putting you at risk for a fire.
That’s why it’s important to have your chimney cleaned and inspected each year, ideally by a certified chimney sweep.
Dealing with PA smoke claims? A public adjuster can help
The old saying goes that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” In reality, your home can incur smoke damage without catching on fire. It might be a problem with your chimney/fireplace, a cooking mishap or even smoke that drifts in from a fire nearby.
If you’ve had a chimney fire or are dealing with smoke damage due to a fireplace mishap, an experienced public adjuster from Interstate Public Adjusters can help.
Our experts have years of experience dealing with Cumberland County, NJ smoke claims, along with the expertise to determine the extent of the damage to your home and value your claim appropriately.
Your insurance company uses professional adjusters to protect their interests. When a chimney fire occurs in your home, you should have someone at your side to protect you.