Fireplace Flue Safety and the Prevention of Chimney Fires

Everyone loves a good, cosy fireplace. It’s not just the warmth that makes it so beloved; in a lot of cases, it evokes a wonderful world of happiness and safety, where one can snuggle in front of the roaring fire with a loved one, or enjoy the silent comfort of being with the family. Also, there is the undeniable charm of a fireplace. It just adds a natural beauty to a room, and its aesthetic appeal cannot be ignored.

Unfortunately, one should realise that a fireplace will not keep itself in good shape. As the homeowner, you need to realise that just like anything else in your house, the fireplace needs upkeep and maintenance. There are so many horror stories of fireplace mishaps; the most unfortunate thing about these stories is that they could have been prevented.

One of the worst things that could happen is a chimney fire. Now how exactly does s chimney fire occur? See, there is such a thing known as “creosote” – a problematic material you ought to be wary of. When wood is burnt in a fireplace, the resulting fire produces by-products that get delivered into the upper part of the flue. Overtime, these by-products cling to the flue and create a sticky, dark-hued material known as creosote.

The problem is that creosote is combustible. As you allow it to build up in the flue, the probability of a chimney fire increases. With creosote lining the flue, it is only a matter of time before the routine act of lighting a fire in the fireplace will lead to a chimney fire. This could then worsen, especially if the home has wooden frames or any other combustible material.

Also, in a chimney fire, you will find parts of it raining down on you and your family, as the fire travels and weakens any part of the home it touches. In a lot of instances, the flue is hidden in the ceiling hence the tendency to rain chunks down on the unsuspecting inhabitants.

There is one way to ensure that a chimney fire never occurs. This is by cleaning out the flue as regularly as you can. Without creosote build-up, there’s really nothing to worry about. The problem is that a lot of homes have hidden flues, and accessibility is a concern. Some people only realise that they’ve got flue problems once they notice discoloration on the walls or the ceiling.

You will need to install a wall access panel in order to make the flue more accessible. With a wall access panel, you will be able to open the hatch up and check on the flue as regularly as you like. Plus, there’s the matter of “out of sight, out of mind”. Without seeing the wall access panel and getting reminded of the four within, it’s very likely that the average homeowner will forget and just ignore flue maintenance.

Wall access panels are incredibly easy to install, so you shouldn’t have a problem with it. Just cut out a small portion of the wall (or ceiling) covering the flue and then attach the wall access panel. This should make maintaining the flue and cleaning it out regularly much easier for you.

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