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Warm Weather Spells Create Perfect Conditions for Chimney Fires

TOG Building & Codes Department Warn Residents that Chimney Fire Threat Isn't Over in Spring

With recent hints of spring warmth and an overall lack of big storms this winter season, officials warn residents to be more diligent than ever in protecting your home from chimney fires. 

“While many people think warm weather means they no longer need to worry about things like chimney fires, it simply is not the case,” said Justin Reckner, Greenfield building inspector.  Reckner said our team has been called to multiple, unfortunate chimney fire inspections in recent weeks.

Why is spring a dangerous season for chimney fires? After a long, cold winter, our firewood supply may be dwindling and we start using less-seasoned firewood with a higher moisture content that leaves more creosote on the chimney’s inner walls. Many families adjust their dampers to restrict air supply to the fire when temperatures rise, so our fires do not burn as hot, which also causes more creosote buildup. Other families think with warming temperatures, it is the perfect time to turn off the furnace and rely more heavily on fireplaces to save on fuel costs. 

If your home has a less-efficient, older wood burning stove or fireplace, Reckner says it may be time to replace it. Newer units will be safer, and there are many cleaner burning hearth appliances on the market with health and safety benefits.  If this isn’t a possibility, please do consider getting a chimney cleaning.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2022, almost 30% of all home structure fires were chimney fires. That’s nearly 13,000 fires causing hazardous situations and millions of dollars in property loss. These fires would be prevented with a chimney cleaning.  If you see multiple or reoccurring sparks, this is a sign a chimney fire may be coming. Chimneys are not designed to contain fire, just smoke.  Call a professional immediately to inspect and clean the chimney.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America states it takes just 1/8 ” of soot build up to cause a chimney fire. Good preventative chimney maintenance will inspect and clean the entire system. Chimney cleaning also removes any critters or nests that may have formed in the chimney, which also could cause fires. Additionally, cleaning the creosote deposits prevents unpleasant odors during humid months.

Experts recommend a cleaning once a year. If you have forgotten this before winter this year, please consider booking a cleaning this spring. We want you to STAY warm and SAFE.

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